I've had a few parents ask me recently how to help their kids develop their spiritual essence. I love this question. Kids are naturally spiritual. They live in the present moment. They love unconditionally. They don't believe their minds. They don't compare themselves and think they are unique. They overflow with joy.
Well, most of the times! My first thought to tell parents is that kids are here to help YOU develop your spiritual essence.
I look at my own spiritual practice and really, there isn't much that kids can't do. Here are a few suggestions
• Get a pack of "angel cards" and have your children pick one for the day. They have words like Happiness, Compassion, Love, Friendship, etc. on them and have them focus on this for the day. It's a fun and exciting thing to do first thing in the morning.
• Teach them how to set an intention for the day, for what they want to focus on and have happen. Start with "I intend for...."
• Have an area in their rooms for a Gratitude wall or whiteboard. At the end of every day, have them write three things they are grateful for. The only rule is that they must be different from the day before.
• Teach them how to create a vision board for their room. Have fun with this, pick out words, images in magazines. It should make them feel good to look at it and imagine what might happen.
Spirituality for children is really about teaching them who they are, reminding them daily of their connection to something greater than themselves, to the universe, nature, the energy that flows through all of us. They are connected to every other child/adult on the planet, developing compassion -- the number-one thing the Dalai Lama says we must teach our children nowadays -- developing forgiveness for any sibling or friend who hurts them.
Children are actually quite good at meditating, or as my godson calls it, "headitating," i.e. about turning off his head and turning on his heart and inner voice. It's important for kids to know they always have a place inside themselves they can go to for answers, guidance, truth and that they can always find a time to be still and silent to hear what their bodies are trying to tell them.
And one more note, whatever your child feels or says is completely fine. If they start talking about angels, presences, invisible people, stay open. It's critical for them to feel heard, accepted, and validated for anything they want to talk about that has to do with God and Spirituality.