Teaching Reiki to Children, Part II
Children want to learn. The children are telling us it is time to teach them. In their own way they are telling us they would like to be connected to their true spiritual nature in a way that they can easily integrate into every aspect of their lives. Reiki is the perfect vehicle. Many of the letters I received were from Reiki Masters who had been asked to teach Reiki to a child and weren’t sure how to proceed. If you are a Reiki Master, have a love for children and a desire to teach them then trust that you will be able to offer them exactly what they need. If we all share in this work and keep the cost low, we will be able offer Reiki to all the children who ask for it.
Children Can Learn Some Reiki Masters have chosen to issue cautions against teaching Reiki to children. Some have told their students that you must not teach children Reiki and that the child will have to wait until they are at least sixteen. I have been told that some think it is too much responsibility for a child and that the attunement will affect the child in a negative manner. One Reiki Master was concerned that it would open her child up to an awareness of negative energies and they would not know how to handle that. I have found these cautions unfounded. Reiki is very healthy for children to learn.
The caution I would offer is in the way it is presented to children. Reiki should be presented in a loving, supportive and fun atmosphere with the utmost respect for the individuality of each child. Children understand what Reiki is much better than most adults since they are still clear and open channels of intuitive understanding. We as adults are only letting our arrogance get in the way, if we think that Reiki is something that should be kept from the young.
Reiki Masters will often attune their own children but will do this privately within the family unit. Their teachers may have told them they should not attune children, but they have decided for themselves what feels right. In teaching a Reiki Kids program you will bring children together in a class where they can share their perceptions with other children. So many wonderful things will occur when they are allowed to have fun and play with their abilities in a natural way. To be with other children who see and understand the world the way they do is very important to their spiritual evolution. The children will support and encourage each other in the class. They will be pleased to find that there are other children who they can openly talk to about the way they see their world.
Children intuitively know when they need to keep quiet about what they are seeing, sensing and feeling. They understand that in many life situations it does not appear to have a place and will not be honoured. They only talk about or use Reiki or spiritual awareness when it seems safe, perhaps within the family unit or with a special friend. (That special friend may or may not be in physical form.) The Reiki class offers a safe place for them, a magical place where they bring alive their innate abilities.
We are at time on earth when our children are coming in with full knowledge and understanding. Many of us understand that these children area able to lead us into the age of pure consciousness. It is our responsibility to make sure they are able to use what they already possess and do not shut it down. If they have opportunities in life where their spiritual nature is honoured and put to valuable use then they will easily grow into the enlightened teachers of the future. These new teachers are of great importance to the evolution of the planet for they are the world leaders of tomorrow.
In a class of children ninety percent of them will see energy as colors and be able to describe what it is doing and how to change it. Those who cannot actually see it will be able to sense it and describe what it is doing by the way it feels. In a class of adults the percentage of those who can see the colors of the aura and the Reiki energy is much lower. As adults we may have performance anxiety issues to get over when learning something new. The ego gets in the way and we may have a concern about our healing abilities. We may worry about whether or not we will be able to channel Reiki in an effective way. With children this is never a concern.
As soon as children are attuned they have a full knowing of what it is that is coming through their hands. They understand that it comes from Spirit and they are easily able to stay out of their own way. They adapt easily and will use Reiki creatively in all aspects of their lives without much instruction. The most important caution I would offer is not to withhold Reiki from any child who expresses a desire to learn.
The Issue of Permission Reiki Masters have often asked about the issue of getting permission from children. Once you decide to teach, offer the class and get the word out there, then the children who are interested will ask. Tell them that the class is available and what they will be doing. They will either be very enthusiastic or show no interest. Trust that they know what is best for their own development and if the timing is right they will ask to participate in a Reiki Kids class
The issue of permission reminds me of a story I heard about an active five year old whose mother was a Reiki Master. Her little guy loved to receive Reiki and so, one night when he was sleeping, she decided to attune him to Reiki. When he woke up in the morning he arrived downstairs absolutely furious. He held his little hands out and asked, “Who put this Reiki in my hands?” Then he stated, “I do not want this Reiki. Take this Reiki out of my hands!”
Herein lies a very good lesson about permission. As Reiki Masters we must be responsible for our actions and always behave in a conscious manner. It is important to respect the needs and desires of all our Reiki students no matter what age they are. While we may be very enthusiastic about the idea of having little Reiki kid in our family, we need to leave it up to the child to decide if it is right for them. When asked about what age is recommended to start attuning children, I suggest that they are old enough when they are able to express a desire to become a Reiki Kid.
How Children Use Reiki
When teaching to Reiki to children it is not necessary to spend a lot of time teaching hand positions. Most adults have a desire to become Reiki practitioners, volunteer in the community or help family and friends. We want to know how to do a complete treatment. It is important to teach these methods of using Reiki, especially if this is mainly the way that it will be used. Children don’t seem to have a desire to learn the hand positions and you may have difficulty getting them to focus that long unless they are older children. So you may wonder how children will use Reiki. There are many ways that the children incorporate Reiki into their lives.
Children instinctively know where to put their hands if someone is hurt and in need of Reiki. Their Reiki is quick and effective. Most often the little ones enjoy giving mommy some Reiki when they see that her field is out of balance. Mom gives them so much and they are delighted to have an opportunity to give back to her. Adults will report how quick and efficient Reiki from the little ones actually is. They are surprised that they are able to affect the energy field in a positive way so quickly. My sense is that this occurs because they are truly open and clear channels for this spiritually guided life force energy.
Children love to give themselves Reiki when they are hurt or are apprehensive about something. They will Reiki their favorite stuffed toy or blanket so that they will always have that comfort available to them. When I teach a Reiki Kids class I always give a child a crystal and they will put Reiki into the crystal without being told to. They sense how the crystal holds and transmits Reiki and it will become a very special object in their collection of treasures.
I have heard beautiful stories about how children will send Reiki to a classmate who is upset or afraid. They just send the Reiki energy to them and the distressed child will become calm and feel supported. Children are very empathetic and so can easily sense the distress of another person. They may take on those stresses in their own little bodies. But when they have Reiki they know how to help someone else without taking anything on.
If it does not feel safe the child will let those around them know that they are sending Reiki and will often do it inconspicuously. With their hands at their sides they will just face their palms towards the distressed person and send Reiki in their direction. One child intuitively knew he was sending Reiki with his eyes to support his little classmate through a stressful time. Wouldn’t it be beautiful to have a classroom full of little Reiki channels that could openly support each other? Think of how loving and calm that classroom would be.
One of my Reiki students has four little boys who have all participated in my Reiki Kids classes. They use Reiki in their family all the time. The whole family will Reiki their car before they go on a road trip, they give each other Reiki sessions, they Reiki their food, they use Reiki with crystals, they Reiki the things they make and the gifts they give. They have truly incorporated it into every aspect of their lives. The oldest of the four boys told his mom that other families weren’t like theirs. When she asked what he meant he said, “Well other families don’t use Reiki all the time like we do.” He recognized that his family was different and he is quite content with that difference. This busy active family is so much fun to be around. Like most families they have their challenges to meet but their home is always filled with humor, laughter, love and Reiki.
Teaching Reiki Symbols to Children The question of teaching the Reiki symbols to children is an interesting one. Again I feel it is important for the child to ask you. One concern about teaching the symbols to a child is that they might feel guilty if they did show the sacred symbols to someone who was not attuned to Reiki. We don’t want to saddle children with guilt issues so that is why it is best to wait until they feel they are ready for this responsibility. Laurelle Gaia suggested one way to teach the symbols to children is to give them just the power symbol. Consider incorporating it into a second Reiki Kids class with the same group of children. You could still call it “Reiki Kids”, but it would be like doing a Level One and a half Reiki class.
A child may ask about Level II Reiki after they observe someone drawing the symbols. They see the energy it evokes and want to be able to create it themselves. One mom told me about her little four year old who she will catch busily drawing symbols in the air. He will watch the energy they create, then draw and redraw them until he is pleased with the effect. The power symbol is his favorite even though he has never been taught how to draw any of the symbols.
If you feel guided to teach a child who is asking for Level II Reiki, then I would suggest that you follow that guidance. This request will most likely come from an older child or one who trusts that they have found a Reiki Master who will honor their request. You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly the child is able to draw the symbols and how they intuitively understand what they evoke.
The Reiki Attunement for Children
I included some information on attuning children to Reiki in my first article but since I received so many questions about this I will elaborate on the topic. It is a good idea to do individual attunements so that the children are not required to sit quietly while waiting for their attunement. While most sit waiting very respectfully it can be very difficult for others to sit for more than a few minutes. As I stated in my first article, I recommend one attunement for children. Reiki Masters who have only used the four-attunement method have questioned me on how to do this. You can easily adapt the four-attunement method. All you would need to do is the fourth attunement, which brings in all the symbols and puts the power symbol in the hands. There are two reasons why one attunement is advisable:
1. The children will most likely become restless if your try to do four attunements in one day. You may not get their full cooperation and this will defeat the purpose.
2. There is very little, if anything at all that will obstruct their receptivity. Children are already very clear channels and they will only require one attunement to fully connect them to Reiki.
If a child seems to be deeply effected by the attunement, place your hands on the child’s feet and just talk to them calmly for a few minutes. Talk about the room they are in and what is going on around them. Just watch the children after they receive their attunement and approach any strong reactions with calm and confidence.
One child in my first Reiki Kids class was vibrating uncontrollably after the attunement. He thought it was quite cool, but I thought it would be a good idea to ground that energy. I just placed my hands on his feet. Looked in his eyes and discussed what was happening in the room. The energy began to calm down and he began to focus on what was going on around him.
The grandmother of one of the children who had taken a Reiki Kids class told me that her grandson was quite out of control the evening after he received his Reiki attunement. She said he was usually quite an active little guy but she had never seen him like this before. She had difficulty settling him down that night, but he woke up the next morning with a big smile on his face. He announced that his head no longer hurt and everything was fine now. He hadn’t even mentioned that his head hurt the evening before. I suspect that if she had known how to do a simple grounding exercise with him this reaction could have been avoided.
Reiki Kids Certificate
While it is not necessary to present a certificate to the children, they really like to receive something to signify the importance of what they have experienced. Presenting each child with a “Reiki Kids” certificate to acknowledge their participation in the class is an excellent way to do this. The certificate should have the child’s name on it and the gold seal you use for your Reiki certificates. The certificate states that the child has participated in the “Reiki Kids” program and has received the Level I attunement in the Reiki system of natural healing. You can create your own wording for this, keeping it simple.
Adapting to Changing Needs
As teachers we need to be able to adapt and support the changing needs of Reiki in our world today. Those who were not afraid to step forward and offer what they know have created some very valuable methods of using Reiki. In order to do this one must not get caught up in the old ways of thinking, be willing to create peace and harmony within the Reiki community and accept that Reiki should be available to all who ask. We have the ability to manifest a world where intuitive knowing will be accepted as a valuable tool for navigating this physical existence. To achieve this we must first let the children know that we support this process.
Barbara McKell, RT CRA, KRM
Article published in the Fall 2004 issue of the Reiki News Magazine