It is common to hear of adults meditating.
You are also probably well aware of its many benefits.
However, did you know that there is such a thing as meditation for children?
While children meditating can seem like a foreign concept to many, there is such a thing.
For many however, the idea of teaching meditation to kids so they can reap the benefits of mindfulness for kids can seem like an impossible feat.
The good news? It can be done.
If you are considering teaching meditation to your kids, you can find all the essentials in this article.
What Is Meditation?
In essence, meditation is the practice of self-awareness and mindfulness.
Children’s meditation is no different.
When meditation is practiced regularly, you are teaching your mind to observe and be aware of your thoughts (stressful or otherwise) without any judgment.
With the constant barrage of information people have access to nowadays, there is very little time for people to relax, breathe, and be with their thoughts.
Meditation is also designed to switch off any distractions and allow you to remain in the present moment.
Who Can Benefit from Meditation?
Anyone can learn and benefit from meditation.
Yes, young kids included!
When you incorporate child meditation in your kids’ daily routine, you will be teaching them how to tap into this valuable skill at any time they need some quiet and peace.
Benefits of Meditation for Kids
For many, meditation is a practice they started as adults, most likely after hearing about it from family or friends or after knowing their benefits.
However, can you imagine if you were introduced to it when you were young?
Could you have navigated those emotionally challenging teenage years with more ease?
Would you have been able to manage stress more effectively?
The answer to all those questions is a resounding YES.
Countless studies have shown the peerless benefits of meditation for children.
Below are some of the remarkable benefits of mindfulness for children:
- Improved Sleep
- Prolonged Attention Span
- Increased Focus
- Reduce Anxiety and Stress
- Stronger Mental Resilience
- Increased Self-Awareness
- Increased Empathy
- Improved Emotional Regulation
Aside from the amazing benefits mentioned above, some studies show that meditation can help improve the working memory capacity of children.
How to Get Kids to Meditate
Now that we have covered the unmatched benefits of meditation for kids, let’s cover how you can get your kids practice this amazing art:
Make sure they are comfortable.
To get their attention, it would be great to start the meditation session with a 30-second jogging on the spot, stretching, or dance party—anything that help them get ready to sit quietly and meditate.
Any meditation practice should begin with the child lying down or sitting in a comfortable position—whichever feels best for them.
Focus on the breathing.
Focusing on the sensations felt in the body is one great way to practice meditation and mindfulness.
This is especially helpful for young children who may have a difficult time concentrating or focusing for long periods.
Start by focusing on the breathing.
Have your children place one hand on their belly and their other hand on their chest.
Have them observe how their belly and chest rise when they inhale and fall when they exhale.
It would also be best if you could out loud during the breathing exercise.
Breathe in for a count of four, hold the breathe for two counts, and breathe out for the count of six.
After a total of five counts of breathing, ask them how they are feeling.
They might feel relaxed, happy, or calm.
It is also possible for them to feel grumpy or restless.
Help them identify their emotions along with their bodily sensations—all emotions are okay.
If your children become too restless or overwhelmed to continue, consider trying again the next day.
If anything, it is crucial to allow your children to take the lead.
This is especially important when they are first starting out.
Pushing them too quickly and too hard may prove counterproductive and might make them avoid the process altogether.
Use stories to keep them interested.
As soon as your children have grasped the basics of mindful and slow breathing, you can now incorporate meditation in the practice.
Incorporating storytelling can be especially helpful if integrated in their bedtime routine so they can relax before sleeping.
Once they find a comfortable position, have them close their eyes and bring their attention to their breath.
Start telling a story that will help them focus on how their body is feeling.
Make sure you bring their attention to how comfortable their bed is or how soft their blanket is.
It is also ideal that you use their favorite people, places, or toys in the story.
Ensure the storytelling is also relaxing so it’s easier for them to imagine and visualize what you are describing.
Child Meditation Expert Tips
Below are some expert that can help your children master meditation:
Meet them where they are.
When setting meditation goals, it would be best to include your children’s input.
It is also recommended that you do not set unrealistic goals.
It would be best to start small and work your way up as soon as they feel more focused and comfortable.
For instance, aim for 30 seconds of meditation first and once they get better, you can try a full minute.
Once the children begin to love and appreciate the meditation practice, you can increase each session by up to 10 minutes.
Make sure you are consistent.
As with anything you want to master, consistency is key.
In line with this, ensure the time (evening or morning), place (dedicated rug or chair), and even their clothing is consistent.
This can help children associate the place, time, and outfit with relaxation.
It also helps their brain switch into the mindfulness mode.
If at first you fail to get your children to meditate, try again!
Meditation is referred to as a practice for a reason—it requires several repetitions for you to master it.
Also, it is important that you are not too hard on your child especially when first starting out.
Stick with the practice long enough until they can feel the benefits and find it a lot easier to complete each session.
When you incorporate meditation in your children’s daily routine, you are teaching them to use a tool that can combat stress and help them refocus when needed. With consistency and practice, they will look forward to each session and reap the long-term benefits of the practice.