Great Info on Mindfulness and Meditation for Kids

Great Info on Mindfulness and Meditation for Kids

If you follow the latest trends in health and wellness, you’ve surely noticed the recent attention given to mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness and meditation are long-standing disciplines that significantly impact health and wellness. These practices are great for adults and also offer many benefits for kids. Read on to learn all about the best ways to introduce mindfulness and meditation to the children in your life!

Article Topics

Why would children meditate?

To answer this question, it is first essential to ask: why does anyone meditate? Meditation is an ancient practice in Eastern religious traditions and is most commonly associated with Buddhism. Buddhist meditation and philosophy are incorporated into the many forms of spiritual development toward enlightenment. The West, however, has popularized mindfulness meditation as a practice that can be separated from any particular belief system.

Mindfulness meditation is drawing awareness to the present moment – typically focusing on the breath and senses – and attempting to separate oneself from the thoughts that usually control us. Western science is finding that this type of meditation offers many benefits for conditions such as high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, insomnia, smoking cessation, mental illnesses, and digestive issues. Meditation has been shown to cause physical changes in brain structure that can improve overall health and well-being.

The term mindfulness is often used interchangeably with meditation. It can also refer to components of a mindful lifestyle that one adopts outside of their direct meditation practice, such as eating, drinking, resting, movement, or enjoying nature mindfully. The more one engages in mindfulness meditation, the easier it will be to be mindful and present in all areas of life. A conscious lifestyle allows a person to take full advantage of their consciousness and avoid the negative thinking loops in which we tend to get stuck.

Many people consider a meditative practice life-changing and wish to have discovered it sooner. By teaching the kids in your life to meditate and be mindful, you are equipping them with valuable skills and setting them up for success as adults. In addition to developing healthy patterns for the future, meditating can have many direct advantages to a child’s life

How Do You Calm Down Kids?

These days, kids are facing large amounts of anxiety and stress. This stress can result from academic pressure, home environment, and other anxieties. In addition, the advancement of technology has resulted in nearly constant sensory stimulation through devices and screens. Meditation allows children to feel a sense of peace and stillness amid this chaos and has been shown to help children relax by reducing stress levels and easing anxiety. Meditation can be a great way to calm down children with excess energy, especially before bedtime.

Meditation for Children’s Behavior

Meditation can also solve behavior problems and behavioral conditions in children. According to Childmind, meditation can help tremendously with depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, anxiety, and anger management issues. Meditation fosters self-acceptance, which allows children with these challenges to be less emotionally and behaviorally reactive. Instead, kids can redirect their negative thinking into more positive behavior outcomes. Instead of constantly punishing children, allow them to learn and grow for themselves by teaching them to meditate.

Does Meditation Help with School?

Academic difficulties are distressing for the entire family, and parents may need help to improve the situation. Often, children are criticized for their failure to meet academic expectations, which can easily take a toll on their self-confidence and overall mental health. Problems in school performance are often related to a child’s emotional health, so teaching meditation in schools is beneficial. By reducing behavior problems and improving attention, kids can better focus on learning while at school.

Can Toddlers Meditate?

How young is too young to start meditating? Children have a hard time sitting still and remaining focused on something. Most will be receptive to and able to understand meditation practice once they reach adolescence. Of course, this will vary between children, but it is a rough guideline. However, this is not to say that aspects of mindfulness and meditation (such as taking deep breaths or sitting quietly for a few minutes) cannot be demonstrated to younger children and even toddlers. Even very young children can benefit from exposure to meditation.

How Do I Teach my Child Mindfulness?

Teaching a child mindfulness might seem daunting, but it can be a very enriching experience for you and the child. It will be most effective if you have your own mindfulness practices to set an example. I’ve included information below and strategies to teach mindfulness and meditation to your child effectively.

How Long Should Kids Meditate?

This is a great question and will depend highly on the age and individual disposition of the child you are working with. Healthy Children provides the following guidelines, which tend to be recommended by pediatricians:

  • Preschool kids: A few minutes per day
  • Grade school children: 3-10 minutes twice per day
  • Teens: 5-45 minutes per day

Again, this is just a guideline; you must find what works best for your child. It is recommended to start slow and gradually increase the time as the child becomes more experienced with meditating. As many kids cannot sit still for long periods, it might be best – especially for someone just beginning meditation – to break up the meditation into two shorter sessions of just a few minutes at a time.

Morning Meditation for Kids

Meditating consistently each day is recommended, as this will be most effective in preparing and conditioning one’s mind to practice. Meditating in the morning can be a great practice to get in the habit of. Benefits of morning meditation include taking advantage of peace, having a clear mind, cultivating focus, and setting the stage for the rest of the day through “positive momentum.” By teaching kids to meditate in the morning, you can set them up for a great day, whether in school, sports, or other activities.

If you are looking for an excellent meditation to do in the mornings, it’s always helpful to start your day with loving-kindness meditation.

Children’s Guided Meditation

Guided meditations can be a valuable tool to aid in meditation for all ages – and especially for kids. Providing gentle instruction gives the mind a concrete focus to prevent it from wandering. Some guided meditations assist one in checking in with the breath and body while sitting and breathing, while others incorporate visualization of a peaceful location or experience. Reading relaxing stories to young children can also be a form of guided meditation.

YouTube and Spotify offer excellent guided meditations appropriate for children, as do many other platforms, such as Alexa and Amazon Echo. Annaka Harris has several guided meditations specifically for children on her website. Several apps, such as Headspace, also provide meditation instruction. Having recently released Headspace for Kids, developers communicated: “We want children to be healthy and happy, not just now but for the rest of their lives. And teaching them about meditation early would help them do just that.”

Great Online Resources For Making Meditation Fun For Kids

There are many great online resources that you can use to help your kids learn about meditation. There are audio recordings, videos, reading resources, and more! Here are a few of the best resources that you can use to help you teach your children:

There are many other applications and other resources out there. Remember to take information from credible websites and those trained in meditation. Try different resources to see what works best for you and your child.

Meditation is for All Ages!

As you can see, these modalities have impressive benefits to physical and mental health, behavior, school performance, and overall wellness. With this information and a little practice, you can teach a child to meditate, cultivate mindfulness, and reap the many long-term benefits. If you’re ready to take this leap, check out our article on the best online meditation teacher trainings.