A Loving-Kindness Practice for Young Children

Girl sleeping with her teddyThe expansive open-heartedness of loving-kindness and compassion practices is one of the greatest gifts we can offer our children.

In Metta Meditation we train in opening our hearts through the repetition of four heartfelt wishes that we send first to ourselves and then outward to an ever-expanding community, until we are able to hold the entire world in the loving-kindness of our attention. Even if we’ve never practiced Metta Meditation ourselves, we can teach our children loving-kindness by sending the four wishes (or any loving thoughts – don’t be afraid to make up your own) to a pet, or a favorite toy or stuffed animal.

  • My daughter and I sit with her favorite baby doll, Dora, on the floor between us.
  • She puts her hand on Dora’s head, mimicking what I do as I bless her each night.
  • I softly say each of our wishes one at a time, and she repeats them.
  • After each wish we sit quietly for a moment concentrating on sending our loving thoughts to Dora.
  • When we’ve finished all four wishes we end with hugs and kisses, and sometimes tickles and giggles.

This is a beautiful way to share the practices of compassion and loving-kindness with young children. Try it out with your family and let us know how it goes.

______________________________

The four heartfelt wishes of Metta practice:

“May you be safe.

May you be healthy.

May you be happy.

May you be peaceful and at ease.”

 

You might also like:

Blowing Bubbles

A Loving-Kindness Practice for Young Children

Balancing Games to Practice Mindfulness

 

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