Do you have questions about meditation for kids? Perhaps, its limitations, benefits, and how to do it? Are you confused and concerned that it might not be right for your kids? Here’s an in-depth view of everything you need to know about meditation and its vitality for kids.
Research shows, meditation for kids can make them more caring, understand their emotions better, and take control of life at an early age. Meditation for kids can be extremely helpful in building a positive outlook towards life. It helps build empathy, compassion and also cope with unwanted stress.
Our world today is filled with lots of extremes. There’s almost no time for boredom, stillness, relaxation. We are often in the alpha state, forever responding to one stimulus after another. Our kids are not left out, and so they are plagued with remarkably high levels of anxiety, stress, and restlessness. It’s no wonder kids today suffer from a wide range of chronic conditions often linked to their mental state. Meditation helps kids in proper focus, concentration, better health and much more. Meditation for kids sleep, helps them relax properly for better mental health and unwinding.
Meditation is a mind-body practice that helps us have moments of calm to become self-aware and reconnect with ourselves. Meditation isn’t just about the mind, but it is focused on the whole self to reach the goal of a peaceful and energized state of mind.
Because meditation offers a space for them to take care of their minds, it should become an important practice. However, you might ask – how can meditation help my kids? Is it some magical gateway, or is there more to the picture than meets the eye? Let’s look at some critical advantages of why teaching your kids about meditation is a perfect idea.
We need to teach our kids to look after their minds, just as we teach them to care for their physical being.
Guided Visualization Meditation for Children
Benefits of Meditation for Kids
Meditation places all of us (kids and adults) in a calmer, quieter, and peaceful state. However, there are many other great benefits you wouldn’t want to miss:
Teaching your kids self-control can help them learn to deal with unwanted emotions in a better way that is socially acceptable and therapeutic. Meditation can also help them manage their anxiety effectively. Meditation practice helps to reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Some Neuroimaging studies observed that meditation is effective in reducing brain matter density associated with anxiety. A 2014 research published in JAMA Internal Medicine on the analysis of transcendental meditation or mantra-based techniques and mindfulness-based stress reduction practices has shown that it does lead to positive outcomes in stress, depression, and anxiety.
Such coping skills they learn can even last a lifetime, although studies are still too early to prove the long-term effects of meditation for kids.
Nevertheless, many meditation practices can help kids acknowledge what makes them anxious and fearful. Meditation can gently push them into accepting that their emotions are simply a part of everyday life. If you begin early enough, you can harness these very specific and lifetime benefits for your kids.
Meditation for Kids help in Enhanced Focus
Our generation today deals with a lot of distracting elements. Our kids are now constantly surfing, be it the web, social media, video games. Technological gadgets have become extensions of their hands, instead of books, friends, and so on. And so they are consistently absorbing multiple sources of information at once. All of these have made it difficult for kids to focus and remain attentive. Studies show that meditation can help kids focus on one thing at a time. Some other behavioral studies show that it can decrease mind wandering and increase working memory. Meditation for kids sleep and proper relaxation is also helpful to bring their mind at a restful state.
Evidence also suggests an increasingly positive effect on cognitive performance, critical to their ability to focus. Neuroimaging studies show it increases brain matter density in areas connected to memory and learning. A 2014 review of over 24 studies also showed that mindfulness could improve cognitive performance, especially in disadvantaged kids. Many other studies, such as the review in 2014 and another review in 2017, show that mindfulness has small, positive therapeutic effects on areas like attention, introspection, and emotion regulation.
Empathy and Happiness
Children’s meditation can help them learn to understand their emotions, which also transforms how they interact with other kids. They will learn to be more patient, understanding, and giving. They will learn to listen more to others and empathize with one another. Loving kindness is one of the meditation types focused in building empathy.
Meditation for Kids Improve Self-esteem and Compassion
Meditation can help kids become self-aware, which in turn boosts their confidence and self-esteem. They will also learn to understand that some pressures and circumstances are sometimes beyond their control. Therefore, it helps them deal with challenging situations and even insecurities in their life. Consistent meditation can help them react better to such pressures and circumstances. It will also boost their feeling of empathy, security, and internal stability. And consequently will lead them to build inner joy and self-esteem. They will learn to develop a profound appreciation of life at the moment, ultimately making their resilience and ability to adapt.
Mindfulness meditation can also help kids deal with illnesses where their mental and emotional well-being plays a role. For instance, it can help kids with the autoimmune disease lupus process their feelings and manage their symptoms. It can also help other kids manage difficult conditions such as stress, ADHD, hyperactivity, and depression.
There are quite a few meditation apps for kids today – even any simple app with soothing music can be used to introduce basic meditation. Meditation for kids sleep and relaxation can easily help in stress relief and calm a hyperactive child.
Coping Skills and Academic performance
Practicing meditation can help children sleep better, become attentive, self-regulate their emotions, focus, retain information, and become more creative. Therefore, meditation improves their overall well-being to help them become more motivated and confident in their abilities. Which ultimately leads to more significant academic achievement and even better choices in life. One pilot study in San Francisco, involving some of the poorest schools in the area, provided mindfulness training to kids over four years. They found that academic performance increased and suspensions decreased by over 70% at the end of the study.
Teaching Kids to Meditate
There is no doubt that meditation offers many positive benefits for kids, but research is still in its early ages. Studies show its effects, but the reasons behind those effects and whether the results are specific to meditation and mindfulness instruction is still unknown. However, even as there is a lot to learn about meditation practice, you cannot dispute the unique ways it can help kids deal with the stress of living in our society today.
Now you know all about the benefits of meditation for kids, let’s look at teaching them. Typically, meditation requires; a quiet location, open attitude, focus of attention, and comfortable body position. You can start using any of the Youtube channels focused on kids meditation or story telling and introduce the process. For over active kids you can try specific meditation for kids sleep which utlizes nature sounds, calming music etc.
Teaching Kids to Meditate can be Challanging
However, meditation for kids and adults is an entirely different thing. Teaching kids to stay still can be challenging and requires special care. On the one hand, adults have more patience, capacity for self-reflection, and can be even for more extended periods. For kids, their ability to meditate will grow very slowly. When they finally get the hang of it, it will become easier for them to get into the meditation zone and connect within themselves. Therefore, kids are generally more receptive and willing. Their curiosity and willingness to embrace new things can be an excellent foundation for teaching them, but it isn’t a goal that comes soon, just like you would see with adults.
Nonetheless, timing can also help simplify things. According to Experts, age and time for meditation activity can allow kids to acquire the habit of meditation. Many Experts recommend that training can begin from ages 3 or 4 years, with breathing techniques to help them understand their bodies’ changes.
Mindfulness Meditation for Kids At School
Some schools have meditation practice sessions for kids. But, research is still in its early stage. So, there is no formal or national accreditation for schools’ instruction and practice. However, many schools have now adopted a proper path to helping kids enjoy meditation benefits.
In some schools, it has become an alternative to discipline. Therefore, when kids are unruly, they are sent to the meditation room instead of traditional detention. Some such schools have reported that meditation practices have helped reduce the number of suspensions. Other schools use mindfulness meditation to educate the Whole Child program to help kids learn stress management, breathing for physical awareness, nutritional knowledge for healthy eating, social and emotional skills for effective interpersonal connections, and many more. Therefore, meditation is a great addition.
However, it would help if you also asked questions when the training happens in the school setting. As echoed by Vox, here are some vital questions to ask at school to figure out if your child needs the programs at school or that your sessions as a family would be adequate:
Is mindfulness instruction taking over other valuable activities? For instance, is it taking over physical fitness or math instruction, or reading? School time is already often packed, so it’s essential to plan appropriately.
- How much does the program cost? Where is the budget coming from?
- How well are the instructors trained? Teaching mindfulness to kids and youths requires more rigorous training than for adults.
- Are instructors using the techniques too? Experts say it can make a huge benefit.
- Will students learn about its real history or learn only about the secularized versions? Some parents might not want their kids to learn about their origins.
- Are there proper quiet spaces for the training? Without such an environment, it becomes a waste of time.
- Will the sessions focus on reducing anxiety and stress or controlling behavior?
Overall, balance is essential in any school day. Therefore, if mindfulness offers a space for relaxation by merely taking the time of a busy school day, it is an excellent choice to make.
Basic Techniques To Teach Kids To Meditate
Besides meditation and mindfulness programs in school, meditation for the whole family is a great idea. However, it is equally important to boost their curiosity first. Again, it is not proper to force meditation on them. You should also teach them to be responsible, so they don’t see the sessions as some obligation. If you have teenage kids, you should focus on helping them build their independence. It is recommended to work with them by creating a space where they can practice on their own.
It would help if you also considered meditating in very short bursts ( 5 minutes or less), early in the morning, or as part of a bedtime routine. That way, it becomes less likely for your other responsibilities, and there’s to compete with it.
Meditating with Kids
Nevertheless, you may wonder – how do I teach meditation techniques to my kids? First, you need to start your practice to become an excellent example for them to emulate. Kids need adults to behave in the ways they want to model. They want to hear and feel that you know enough to help them adapt to their own needs and preferences.
But you don’t need lots of experience! Once you get the hang of it, you can start having sharing the experiences with them. Trust your intuition to help you create a practice that you can enjoy together with your kids. Make sure to keep things simple, and it just might be a way to help you connect deeply with your kids.
Meditation For Toddlers
Technically, meditation can begin from ages 3 or 4. However, it is pretty great to help them enjoy the process from as young as possible. For them, you should focus on teaching mindful movements. For instance, have discussions about things that make them happy or touch different parts of their body that feel happiness. You can also help them think of something that makes them unhappy and show where they feel such unhappiness. Help them learn to relieve those sad feelings by engaging in the sounds and fulfillment of taking a deep breath.
At this moment, you shouldn’t try to make them sit still. If the children fidget, it isn’t a bad thing. The idea is to help them recognize stress signals and learn practices that help them out of balance. Focus on keeping sessions for them as short as possible – even 30 seconds can be a great start.
Meditation for Ages 3-7
Consider teaching your kids meditation through stories, songs, yoga hand positions, and other fun activities. You can consider helping them imagine the scent of a flower and taking a deep breath of that flower. Help them imagine just how the flower’s aroma feels and how they feel after smelling it.
Using stories, consider featuring their favorite toy or pet to help them practice deep breathing. If they resist doing it, consider doing it yourself, a bit more, by focusing on the breath to become curious about the process. Many parents use meditation for kids sleep and proper resting to check on hyperactive behaviour.
It is also essential to help them start dialogues about their feelings and emotions to connect to their happiness, anger, and pain. Do note that kids may not know how they feel, and that’s normal. At this age, your goal is to help them connect with themselves and be fully present, even if they cannot fully express themselves due to their limited vocabulary.
Meditation for Children Ages 8 and Up
It is vital to teaching them the correct way to breathe at this stage, among other techniques. However, it would be best if you also let them make their preferences. Consider helping them understand the process of it all, especially the why’s to arouse their curiosity at using such strange techniques to become calm.
Calming guided meditative music and recorded meditation are also great tools at this stage. Your goal is to let them choose and create their own comfortable space and practice. Meditation works better when it is personal. It would help if you let them select the sounds or voice textures for their meditation practice. There are tons of meditation and music resources to try out for kids on our app. Many of these focus on short and fun-filled activities that can help them focus, become calmer, and even have a restful sleep.
Meditation for kids is a wholesome idea, but always remember that consistency is key to earning all of its benefits. Besides, it would be best if you were patient and committed to the process.
It might take some time to help your child become excited about the process. However, as they become committed and motivated, they will enjoy the benefits a lot more. Children don’t also learn by merely instructing them without practicing on their own. So, it would help if you led them.
Moreover, meditation for your entire family can help strengthen your family. Provide them the tools to practice, and join them from time to time. In the end, you can lay the foundations for your child to become successful and enjoy a fulfilling life all around.