Chanting for children
A fun and practical way to help children manage the streses they face at an early age.
Published in Houston Family Magazine
Now that summer is almost over and school is about to start, children will be facing the enormous pressure to excel at school. There is homework, state tests, after-school activities, competitive sports and new social situations---it’s constantly Go-Go-Go! Let’s face it, its stressful being a kid nowadays. As parents, we try to do everything to help raise well-rounded children. But are we also providing them with the tools they need to cope with the stresses they face at this early age?
The Department of Health & Human Services reports that mental health problems affect 1 in every 5 young people at any given time. According to a survey done by Clinical Pediatrics, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (or ADHD) is the most common psychiatric condition affecting children. Current estimates of childhood ADHD prevalence range from 5 - 10%.
How can we teach our children to be more calm and relaxed?
Believe it or not, an effective and practical method for helping children manage the pressures of school and social situations dates back approximately 3,500 B.C. in the East - chanting mantras. What is a mantra? In simple terms, a mantra is similar to an affirmation on steroids. We are all aware of the impact that affirmations have on the subconscious mind. A positive word or phrase repeating in one’s mind has the power to positively influence thoughts, emotions and attitudes. When a word or phrase is 5,500 years old, the energy accumulated by millions of people who have chanted that mantra over millennia is benefited by the chanter today! The original definition of a mantra was a hymn or phrase recited continually as a prayer. The common usage has come to be a word or syllable(s) used repetitively as a means to increase our focus and concentration.
Mantras exist in all languages and religions. For example, Ave Marie is a common mantra chanted by Christians around the world. Om Mani Padme Hum, a popular Tibetan mantra, is chanted for world peace and Om is considered to be the primordial sound of the universe by Hindus.
How can chanting help children?
Repeating a mantra or chanting can help relax an anxious child by first regulating his breath. When one chants, the breath becomes deep, even and regular. This allows higher levels of oxygen to flood the body and as a result, the body begins to relax. Eventually, the child’s emotional level becomes calmer and more centered, and the physical body follows. “Chanting mantras can be very calming and reassuring for children in this fast-paced, ever-changing world we live in today,” says Anandita Oberoi, Licensed Professional Counselor. "I have used mantras on my child clients and found that chanting simple mantras can help build a child’s self-confidence, lower their anxiety and ease them during difficult times such as a loss of a loved one,” she adds. Chanting can also help comfort a child who is sad, afraid or angry, because he can learn to connect more deeply with his inner self.
When can a child begin chanting?
The most powerful time to begin chanting for a child is right now. Parents can instill a routine of chanting mantras together with their child every day with the help of mantra CD’s that are widely available on Amazon and Cdbaby.com. The catchy music on these CD’s can make learning mantras easy and entertaining for children, allowing them to navigate their daily challenges with more ease. CD’s are also a practical solution for busy parents since they can be played in the car during the morning commute and at bedtime, helping a child be more at peace with themselves and the world around them.
The power of chanting mantras for children is profound in its ability to positively affect our children during their most formative years. With everything we know about the mind/body connection and the deep impressions that are made during early childhood, it is obvious that instilling this practice is invaluable. According to psychologists, a child's toolbox of coping mechanisms, such as how he handles stress and deals with relationships, as well as his temperament and outlook on life, is set by the age of six. There is no time like the present to teach your children the tools to help them deal with the stresses they will be facing all their lives.
The power of chanting mantras is the greatest gift a child can receive today for their future.