For most families, there is no such thing as a 10-minute pocket of silence during the day. Yet our faith tradition and science are coming together to agree that a time of sitting without thoughts—call it centering prayer, meditation, or strong sitting—is beneficial to both children and adults. Several studies have found meditation to reduce anxiety levels, improve self-awareness and self-control, and improve attention skills. The Bible says it like this: “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).
One method of many:
• Have each child sit cross-legged on a pillow facing a wall in a room, with eyes open and mouth closed.
• Gently explain that they should pick one sacred word—love, God, peace, Christ—and should let all thoughts flow out of their mind.
• Set the timer for one minute per year of the child’s age (or the average if you have several children).
• Approach centering prayer as a gift even if children don’t look forward to it—compliment them for any success they have in sitting quietly.
By Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Winner of the Best in Class award in 2014 from the Associated Church Press, as well as a First Place General Excellence award from the Catholic Press Association for four years running. Here’s a sample issue.
We offer very low rates for parish use, as well as our free Moms’ Night Out monthly discussion guides.
And don’t miss our popular single-page parish handouts on handing on the faith, helping kids understand the Mass, Lent, and Advent.