Take a moment of silence with your kids

Candle RGBmfIQkguFor 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.

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Silence is golden—even for kids

Children older than about 4 benefit from learning how to be silent (for little ones it is next to impossible). We learn to be comfortable with ourselves; we give others a break from our chatter; we may even hear the voice of God. Some ideas:

• Send kids to their rooms, not as a punishment but as a place to go. They may do anything they want for a half hour—but no TV, computer, or iPod. Make sure there are art supplies, writing supplies, or building materials.

• No talking until the next stoplight. When arguments flare in the car, declare a moratorium on talking until a certain landmark.

• Take kids to Eucharistic Adoration; stop into an empty church for 10 minutes. Sit, kneel, or walk around the church in silence.

by Annemarie Scobey, from the pages of At Home with Our Faith, Claretian Publications’ print newsletter for parents on nurturing spirituality in the home. Here’s a sample issue.