Teaching Reiki to Children

by Barbara Mckell

Teaching Reiki to children has been such a gift, for it is actually the children who are teaching me. Their openness and willingness to explore their innate abilities makes each class special and unique. I share so much laughter, creativity, and fun with these children. They have taught me what childhood should be like and how to help manifest it.

A ten-year-old girl named Claire inspired me to create a program specifically for children. Her parents, Elizabeth and Scott, had taken Level I Reiki with me. A few days after their course, they called me saying they really needed to talk to me. They spoke to me from separate extension phones and told me what had transpired in their home after the Reiki I workshop.

Elizabeth's mother had been looking after her two children for the duration of the workshop. When Elizabeth and her husband arrived home, her mother had said, "I don't care what you learned this weekend, my knee is hurting so bad I need you to try it on me." Elizabeth was a little apprehensive about her newly acquired skill, but she remembered how she could really feel the energy when she created an energy ball between her two hands. She did this just to make sure the energy was running, and as she began to feel the energy between her hands, Claire said, "Oh Mommy, can you show me how to make one of those beautiful balls of color, too?" Her mother showed her what to do, and Claire could quite easily see the energy and talked about the different colors she was seeing. She helped her mother do Reiki on her grandmother, careful to keep her hands above the area being treated so that she could still see all the colors. When Claire's father went to move a stool that was beside the grandmother, Claire said, "Don't take that stool. Nanny's angel is sitting there." Then Claire took her mother aside and said, "You remember when I was little and I could see the angels? Well, they are back. I can see them again. You brought the angels back!"

Elizabeth recognized that there might be challenges in having a child who is clairvoyant, and so she called me to get some advice and assistance. I listened patiently to all she had to share with me. She really needed someone to talk to about this wonderful little being that was her daughter. I told her what a special gift Claire was and that the most important thing was that she lived in a house where her perceptions would be honored. "Your job," I said, "is that of a true Guardian, to protect her and make sure no one ever exploits her gifts or ridicules her."

It was through my conversations with Claire's mother that I realized I needed to create something for special ones like Claire. I couldn't accept that she had to wait until she was an adult to learn Reiki. From my own experience, I knew that many children shut down these special abilities because they feel they have no use for them in their physical world. I knew that Reiki would give them an outlet and a practical way to use their perceptions. As Reiki practitioners, we all know how simple Reiki is and that it is neither dependent on spiritual evolution nor intellect, so why should it be kept from someone based on an age barrier? I was also encouraged by some of my Reiki students who told me that if I set up a class for kids they would provide me with willing participants.

Reiki Kids
When I created the first Reiki Kids program, I sought the advice of experts. One of my colleagues, Alison Normore, holds a Ph.D. in Childhood Education. She has spent many years working in child development and program evaluation, so she became a valuable resource. She also had her Level II Reiki and wanted to support my project. Another woman who I called in as a resource was Heidi Klaming. She was a teacher and had spent many years teaching creative arts to children. Heidi had been practicing Reiki since the early nineties and was a Reiki Master. Both Alison and Heidi wanted to be part of the first program and were an immense help to me when we put our creative minds together.

We decided that we wanted to direct the program to children aged between six and twelve years, and soon the first Reiki Kids program was in the works. I wanted a place that wouldn't restrict the children in any way. A small retreat center where I often teach my Reiki Master classes was rented for the first workshop. There was plenty of room for the children both indoors and out. The wood plank floor would make it easy to clean up any of their creative endeavors, and the furniture was well worn and comfortable...

The Attunement for Children
Questions regarding how I do attunements for children seem to be foremost on Reiki Masters' minds. I find it easiest to do individual attunements with children. While I am doing each attunement, my helpers keep the other children busy with various art projects. A special room for the attunement is set up with soft music and candles. I smudge the room and prepare the space with Reiki symbols. This makes it very special, and the children really respond to the welcoming environment I have created for them. If any child is unsure or nervous, they can have mom with them. I have even done an attunement with the child sitting on mom's knee.

Reiki Masters who use the four-attunement method may find it a little complicated to keep the children engaged for a long period of time. I recommend that you do just one attunement. I have a sense that is all children require. I use the one-attunement method taught to me by William Rand and find it to be highly effective.

The attunements themselves can be an interesting experience, and I have learned to be very flexible in honoring each child's uniqueness. Occasionally a child does not wish to receive the attunement. This is rare, but this too must be honored. I just let the child know that if they ever change their minds, they can come and see me for their own special attunement day. Sometimes they just aren't ready to sit still, and I honor that as well. Intent is the most important element of the attunement, so I have learnt to adapt. Most children will sit very respectfully in the prayer position and receive the attunement. Amazing and beautiful things will happen when you attune children.

One seven-year-old boy named Addison sat so respectfully during the attunement, it was obvious that this was a very sacred moment for him. As I did the attunement, I could sense and see all his chakras line up in micro movements. His field was changing and filling with light. At the end of the attunement, I instructed him to put his hands over his heart and allow the Reiki energy to flow. He did this and sat very quietly for a moment. Then he looked at me with the most loving expression and said, "My heart has changed its beat." He continued to sit there for a little longer then turned his gaze towards me again and said, "There, it is finished. My heart is beating differently now." I asked him if it felt like a good thing. With a dreamy look in his eyes he said, "Oh, yes. It is very good." Then he went off to join the other children.

When his mother contacted me later, she told me he had spent the week after the workshop in a state of bliss, experiencing the world around in him in a very loving way.

This is an excerpt from an article in the Spring 2004 issue of Reiki News Magazine.