As an avid meditator myself, I wanted to find a way to share this passion with my son in a way that he could understand and find fun. I came across a lovely little book and CD set one Christmas and bought it for my kiddo. It’s called Sitting Still Like a Frog.
I figured that getting him to meditate was going to be a bit like pulling teeth, so the fact that the book came with a CD was the selling point for me. I knew my little one would love having his very own CD, the chance to put it in mommy’s computer himself, and to choose which selections we practiced on iTunes.
The CD starts with an intro to the concept of meditation in kid-friendly language. Then there are a series of practices utilizing fun, gamified ways to meditate. The first is the book’s namesake. Then it goes on to exercises like The Spaghetti Test, Hitting the Pause Button, etc.
What I love about it is how gentle it is; it instructs that while it may be very difficult to sit still, that you may want to squirm and wiggle, that’s okay. All it asks is that the child take notice. There’s no right or wrong, just gentle observation.
It also provides exercises for specific situations, like feeling overwhelmed or dealing with a strong emotion. I think what makes it particularly powerful is that it isn’t coming from mom. It’s a new source of input without any history and that helps my son to stay open to it.
Truth be told, he’s a bit young for it, as it’s recommended for children ages 7 to 10, but I figured I’d start him early to get him used to the concept. And at the very least, give him the opportunity to practice sitting still. He usually chooses the Froggy Exercise because that’s the shortest one, and he typically finds sitting to be excruciating. I’m fine with that, as it gives him the chance to reinforce the same cues over and over before he moves on to more nuanced exercises.
He has a really difficult time with boredom and hates silence. He’ll ramble and chatter to fill the space unless he’s engaged in play or listening to one of his story podcasts. This concerns me, because I want him to not only accept boredom as a part of life but also to feel okay and secure in himself, by himself, without distraction or buffers.
Being Okay In Yourself
To be able to sit with yourself and feel okay, content, even nourished by that self-intimacy is a great skill to have. And eventually it can even lead to deep self-knowledge if that’s the route you want to go.
For my little guy, I at least want him to feel that he is enough. That he is okay without music playing, or another person engaging with him, or without chattering to himself to fill the space.
I want him to feel that within that space, he is safe, he is whole, he is enough. If he has this as his base rather than a sense of always needing something more, space will be an invitation for him to experience the basic joy of being alive.