-by Kimberly Fleisher
I receive a lot of emails asking for tips on how to teach Reiki to Kids. Kid’s inherently understand the practice easily. I break classes into bite size chunks with a focus on hands-on learning and practice. I also incorporate art, journaling, movement and song to make the learning process digestible, and to speak to different learning styles. For more info on different learning styles, I encourage you to investigate the work of Howard Gardner, specifically his theory of Multiple Intelligences. At the end of this post, check out the bonus gift of a video on how to teach the Reiki precepts to kids as a song!
4 Tips For Teaching Reiki To Kids
1. Be Credible and Legal– Have you crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s?
To work with children, it can be really important (and sometimes required, depending on where you work or the legalities of your state, city, county, etc) to have credentials. Some common things include fingerprinting, criminal background checks, and child abuse clearance documentation. Most of these are accessible at a low cost, can be found online, and make parents/guardians/workplaces feel at ease leaving you with their precious cargo.
2. Do More, Talk Less- Kids understand learning through doing. Model and have kids practice everything you teach. Answer questions if they have them, and make room for them to ask (kids are smarter than you think, and often are very critical thinkers with mindful questions) but don’t bog the learning process down with too many words.
3. Tour The Space- One of my favorite secret weapons for establishing participation, cooperation, and amicable behavior is to give kids a tour of the space before the class starts. I learned this trick from George Barrick, my co-founder of The Reiki School who was also a longtime preschool director/teacher. I’ve found that kids respond well when they feel safe and their curiosity is appeased. This is a great tip for autism spectrum kids too, who thrive on knowing exactly what’s happening, what’s what, where, etc. Show them all the nooks and crannies of your center, house, or studio. Show them where the bathroom is, where the sink is, and other parts of the space that they might find themselves in. If there are rooms they can’t go in, tell them exactly what’s in them. Ask them if they have any questions and answer them, even if they seem silly (What’s in that closet? Why is there a small door leading to the backyard? Who’s room is that?) This information will help them settle in a way they won’t even be conscious of.
4. Meet Kids Where They’re At and Honor Boundaries (Yours and Theirs)– I never make kids do anything they don’t want to do, including initiations. I always clearly explain what’s going to happen, demonstrate it, and invite kids to participate. If they don’t want to, I explain that this is okay, as long as they don’t disturb or distract other kids from participating. If a kid wants to hang-back instead of participating, that’s fine, as long as they don’t disturb anyone else. I’ve found that this encourages kids to feel empowered. I’ve also found that typically, over time even the shyest, non-participatory kids will come out of their shell and participate eventually. I’ve also noticed that non-participatory kids (especially autism-spectrum kids) will absorb a lot of info through listening and watching, from a distance, even if it doesn’t seem like they’re engaged or paying attention. Parents will remark that their kids do stuff at home that I hadn’t even realized they picked-up on in class.
Bonus Video! The Reiki Precepts for Kids (it’s a song!)