Before guiding your child towards spiritual path, accept it in your life first. Children can feel when parents fake something. So it is important to be completely true to what you believe in before nurturing your child’s spiritual side. Developing spirituality is the life long journey towards self discovery.
What is spirituality? Dictionary defines it as being concerned about the human soul and spirit as opposed to physical and material things. It does not matter in which religion you believe. It is important to believe in the energy that is greater than us. Spirituality is developing life values like gratitude, compassion, sharing, acceptance, faith, etc. Being spiritual is respecting life, respecting the rights of others, and appreciating the environment. For example, teaching ‘sharing’ to children is important; be it sharing their toys with other children or sharing their time and energy with elderly people. It is important to let our children know how these actions make other people feel good. Not to mention when we help others, we are truly helping ourselves. Spiritual kids are happier and healthier and have better sense of values and morals.
Spiritual well being leads to fewer chances of anxiety and depressive symptoms. Spiritual well being also leads to emotional well being in children. There is no particular age when you can start instilling spirituality in your children. You can teach your babies and toddlers too. At this age, they might not understand it mentally but they will fell the energies, vibrations, and the love and will know that this is a state of being.
Here are a few ways to nurture your child spiritually:
- Set an intention: First thing in the morning have everyone in your family set their intention for the day. Have your children state their intention, for example their intention for the day could be something like: I intend to be mindful in school today, or I intend to have a happy day. At the end of the day, ask them if their day turned out as they intended it to. If not, ask them where it went off track and what they could have done differently.
- Gratitude journal: Make it a habit that everyone in the family writes down at least one thing they are grateful for every day in the evening. It can be anything from being happy for being alive, to thanking another family member for something they have done for them. Alternatively, if you as a family eat dinner together, have everyone at the dinner table state what they are grateful for.
- Guided visualisation: Children are visual learners so guided visualisations or meditations work great. Guided visualisations can create healthy, thought provoking images to transform negativity into positive affirmations. Guided visualisations provide relief from stress and anxiety, decrease panic attacks, boost self esteem, and provides opportunities for children to connect with themselves on deeper levels. Guided visualisations are best to use before bed so as to calm your baby down and put them in the space to have good dreams.
- Martial Arts: As odd as this sounds, martial arts actually emphasises self control, respect, and compassion. Apart from teaching self control and discipline, martial arts boosts self esteem and confidence, it provides a tool to channel anger. It is also a great exercise
- Yoga: Yoga brings about inner peace, is a good way to increase children’s awareness of their own bodies, aides their sense of balance. It also reduces stress and lowers anxiety levels in children.
- Arts and Crafts: Arts and crafts provide children with the opportunity of being creative and use their imagination. Hence, art and craft is a great way to explore spirituality. Art also helps children in expressing their deepest feelings for which they don’t have the words to say out loud. Children tell the truth through their art.
- Explore nature: Exploring nature helps in self discovery. You can teach several aspects of life using the elements of nature. For example, you can teach your children about transformation by talking about butterflies; teach them about interconnectedness of life by talking about ecosystems while hiking in the forest; teach them about conservation by picking up trash wherever you are; take them for star gazing. There are endless ways to teach children about the universe and their place in it through the exploration of nature.
- Community Service: Volunteering for a community service project can provide children with a broader understanding of how they fit in the world. It helps them develop compassion and empathy for others and find gratitude that their own circumstances are different than others.
- Encourage your child to share his or her dreams with you: By showing a genuine interest in your child’s dreams, the child will learn to value them. Encouragement to share will build their self-confidence and in turn create an optimistic and cheerful approach to life. By encouraging a child to share aspirations we are ultimately supporting them in believing and achieving them.
- Listen to your child with full attention and concentration: When children try to communicate but aren’t heard and honoured, they try to guard their feelings overtime and keep to themselves most of the time. Take time out to sit and listen to your child’s joys, achievement, frustrations, and dreams.