Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Monkey Mind and Buddhism for Children

Monkey Mind - A Captivating Bedtime Story For Children

Several of my friends who are parents have recently been recounting their struggles in getting the kids to bed.  One of my friends swore by a sleep routine, but even that was hit or miss.  Some other friends gave up the fight and had been sharing their bed with their child from birth until she was seven years old.  I can safely say that parenting is definitely one of the toughest jobs in the world, even though I don't have kids.

Recently, I came across the book Monkey Mind - A Captivating Bedtime Story For Children by Phoebe Lee.  She combined her knowledge of parenting, Buddhist beliefs and ADHD to develop this picture book aimed specifically at helping ADHD children.  The term "monkey mind" is actually a Buddhist term that refers to the inability to control the mind and the mind's tendency to rapidly jump from one thought to the another.

One of my close friends suffers from ADHD, and I've seen him lose focus and shift rapidly from thought to thought.  I always encourage him to consider meditation as a treatment for ADHD, but he's been resistant.  I think some dharma lessons and studying Buddhist beliefs could really help him.  Maybe I should buy him the above book, even though he's in his 40s and has no children.  Lol.  I have found that meditation is a great way to calm the mind and find happiness in this chaotic life.  I recommend Monkey Mind to anyone who has children.

I strongly believe in the beauty of all religious traditions and believe that people can find different parts of different religions that can be extremely helpful, even if those people don't necessarily follow all parts of those religious traditions.  The Drolma Center, which is the sangha that I attend, offers meditation classes for kids.  I think meditation for children or Buddhism for children are progressive ideas that can make parenting much easier.  I would even venture to say that Buddhist meditation does not conflict with the beliefs of other religions, so even people who are from different faiths can use Buddhist meditation to help their children.

Phoebe Lee also has a CD called Monkey-Fish-Dragon - Three Modern Wise Tales For Children, which includes the story Monkey Mind.  I recommend the book or the audio CD because they are both great ways to expose children to different traditions, help them calm down, and teach them how to self-soothe and get to sleep.  The Monkey Mind website can be visited here, or click the links above or below to view specific products.

Monkey-Fish-Dragon - Three Modern Wise Tales For Children

Update: Jay Andrew Allen at left a comment suggesting Moody Cow Meditates by Kerry Lee Maclean.  See his comment below, and please visit his blog, which contains all sorts of interesting information about Zen and other Buddhist interests.  This looks like a great book, and it's very interesting that his teacher read it during sesshin.  Besides, I've secretly believed for years that children's books, and for that matter movies, are written with adults in mind.

Moody Cow Meditates

Posted as part of Best Posts of the Week.


Jay Andrew Allen said...

There's also MOODY COW MEDITATES (, which is delightful. Our teacher read that to us during a one-day sesshin. Then we studied Dogen's FUKANZAZENGI. It was an interesting day.

Going to buy Moody Cow so I can read it to my own kids!

Ani said...

Thanks so much for the suggestion. That is so interesting to read it during sesshin. I'll post a link to you and to your suggested reading above. Thanks!

Scoop said...

Lola – I love this post! It is so true that a focused child is not necessarily an oxymoron. A little off subject here, but I came home once to my wife and our children (9 and 7) doing yoga... for the rest of the day, they were an inseparable clique. The bonding and focus that resulted was amazing. None of us suffer from ADD/ADHD but the meditative nature of the routines sets the stage for the day - it's something they all do together regularly now. When the three of them do it they bond over their time together - If I join in, they bond over their shared laughter... either way...