Reiki for Kids!

Over the years, I've had a number of parents and caregivers bring children in for Reiki. The adults usually experience or learn Reiki first, and after experiencing its healing benefits, they ask their kids if they'd like to come try Reiki too.

Often these kids have been given a diagnosis of ADHD, cancer, a developmental delay or learning disability. Sometimes, they just struggle at school or in their social circle. Receiving and living with a diagnosis can be hard in itself, on top of the physical or mental - emotional condition itself. Yet, these children are some of the most amazing people I've met. And, their Reiki treatments are some of the most fun and amazing ones I've given!

Can Children Learn Reiki?

While children under 13 are generally too young to be attuned to practice Reiki themselves, they are excellent candidates for receiving Reiki treatments. They're always asked if they'd like Reiki, rather than forced, and usually a parent will sit in on their session (if the child agrees). Often, a parent is the best person to give their own child Reiki. Many of my Reiki students wish to give Reiki to their children, but they say their kids are too rambunctious, have too little patience or have too short attention spans to receive a Reiki treatment. So, here are a few things that I do when giving Reiki to kids:

1. Time goes out the window

Children are sponges. They only need to hear some things once and they will remember them for life. They readily sense healing and often readily absorb it. If you're used to giving hour-long sessions, try 30 minutes, or 20, or just start with 10 and go from there.

If you're taking your child to get a Reiki session from someone, discuss with your child if you're going to be in the room with them, what the Reiki treatment entails, and remind them to say say if something doesn't work for them. Even if the treatment time is only 30 minutes, it will likely take the practitioner some time to talk with your child beforehand, find out what they struggle with, explain to them what the treatment looks like, get them comfortable, and perhaps even play with them or show them some toys or healing tools to gain your child's trust first. Leave some time for this. 

2. Simplify Hand Positions

Toddlers' and young children's bodies are small, so standard hand positions may do double duty. Front of the face and side of the face may be merged, as can solar plexus and tummy. Don't worry about form as much as connection. The happier the child, the bigger the smile, the more laughter, the more contentment, the more they will relax, release and consciously receive and appreciate the healing.

3. Connect

Children may not be used to having an adult work on them on a table. If they have, it's usually been with gloved hands, cold stethoscopes, directives to sit still and sadly, injections. A good practitioner will take some time to establish rapport. Children should be allowed to talk (even sing!) during the session if they want to. If you're giving Reiki to someone else's child, be interested in their lives, address them by their name, and get them to feel happy and comfortable with you.

4. Communicate

Children are young and open. Often they are told to sit still, behave, pay attention, be quiet and even "grow up"! A good practitioner will ask them questions. A simple, "how does this feel?" can go a long way. If you're giving Reiki to a child, and sense the energy in the Reiki treatment, even just colours, communicate what you sense with them. Have them visualize coloured lights enveloping them like soft blankets or bubbles of protection. You can guide them to visualise or to feel their breath expanding and releasing at their belly like a balloon. Not only will it help make the time on the table more interesting, you will be helping them see that it's okay to sense things that most grown ups ignore or dismiss.

5. Toys!

When a child comes into my healing studio, I immediately put on a bit happier, more upbeat music, and bring out the tray of crystals. I ask them if they'd like to include crystals in their treatment and if they say yes, I ask them to select a few that they like the best. Kids intuitively sense what they like and what feels good. They often even know when the crystals are done - and hand them to me telling me so! If your child has a special stuffed animal or doll that they love, invite their toy into the Reiki treatment. Often children will feel safer with these happy companions by their side.

6. Don't sit still

Adults are sitting most of the day. Kids, on the other hand like to move about. If the child is restless during Reiki, it could mean that they sense they need a good release. I always go with the flow. I will often ask them if we can do some movements, and then take their arms or legs and shake them about, or give them a side to side swing. Sometimes, when a child isn't able to sit or lie still at all, I do the session by distance while in the same room. We may even hold hands and dance. Sometimes I get them to open their mouth and make funny noises with me. Brrr! Wa-Hooo! This often ends with smiles and big belly laughter!

7. Hugs and Cuddles

When it comes to our kids, Reiki doesn't have to be given formally. Often I will feel the energy coming out of my hands when I am cuddling with or hugging my niece or nephew. They love it so much at bedtime and when reading books together. In fact, I often get the biggest hugs from them! So if you've learned Reiki and wish to share it with your kids, give them lots of hugs and spend time cuddling, watching TV or reading together. Let the Reiki flow naturally.

8. Boo-Boos!

Don't forget it's often our first instinct when a child has an injury, to place our hands over the affected area. Spot healing works wonders with children, so even if it's not a full healing, your child will benefit from the energy and attention on that one spot that needs attention fast!

What About Teens?

The above are just some of the ways I approach Reiki for young kids. For older kids and teenagers, privacy is super important to them. They'll often choose to come into the treatment room without their parents. We always make sure they know that I'm not discussing anything confidential outside their session. Sometimes they have a hard time communicating with their parents or siblings. We often role-play during the session so that teens can listen to themselves and feel freer talking to their parents from a supported and empowered place within themselves. Sometimes there's a feeling or a diagnosis of depression and anxiety. In these cases, Reiki can make all the difference in the world, by offering perspective, space and acceptance. Teens know there's a supportive place they can turn to if they need help or someone to listen.

No matter whether you are giving Reiki to a child or bringing your child for a Reiki session, it's a wonderful gift for them and helps with their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and development. They might feel more focused at school, have a better feeling about their physical body, go off to sleep more easily, enjoy better relationships at home or feel more empowered in their social circles. My own niece and nephew love it so much, they ask for Reiki at bedtime when they come to stay with me. I highly recommend sharing Reiki treatments with kids of all ages!

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