5 Ways to Teach Kids How to Meditate

Children are not immune to problems we often associate with adulthood. Meditation is recognized as a good way for adults to reduce stress, improve focus and many other benefits, but this is also becoming an important issue for children.

The 2010 Stress in America survey found that nearly a third of American children had stress-related physical health symptoms. And between 2003 and 2012, two million more children in the United States were diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Half of these were diagnosed before age 6.

Research points to meditation as a way to help children face some of these challenges. A study from the University of California, Davis showed that meditation training can reduce levels of cortisol in the body, a hormone associated with physical or emotional stress.

An Australian study taught a group of children with ADHD between the ages of 4 and 12 to meditate in addition to their usual treatment. These children showed a significant reduction in hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattention compared to a control group. Another study determined that a two-week mindfulness training course helped students to improve their attention span and learning abilities.

Itís becoming clear that meditation is not just for adults. There are many excellent options to get children started with meditation. With a bit of care and attention, meditation can be a fun, easy activity for kids.

Start with Yourself

Children naturally tend to copy their parents, even if it doesnít always feel that way. Many parents with a regular meditation practice report that their children often come to sit with them and enjoy some quiet time together.

If you donít currently have a meditation practice, there are many different types to choose from. Meditation does not need to be part of a religion or other specific tradition. It just needs to be a method you like and can commit to regularly.

Keep in mind that most types of meditation are easy to learn and can take as much or as little time as you want. Even sitting quietly by yourself for 5 minutes a day can help you relax and recharge.

Create the Space

Set aside a specific area for your kids to meditate. Let each of them individualize their own space. You can decorate together and make it a fun project. Draw pictures to hang, bring their favorite rocks or other items to arrange, make colorful mobiles for the ceiling, and maybe go shopping to find special meditation pillows for everyone.

Simplicity Works Best

The most basic meditation technique is paying attention to your breathing. Encourage your child to sit upright and simply notice how their chest rises and falls, or how the air feels going in and out of their nose. You can also suggest making their breath longer and slower, or having them touch their tummy to feel how it moves with the breath.

Silent times can also work well. Let them know all they need to do is relax, and maybe burn a candle for them to watch. Fire can often hold their attention. Silent times can also be made into a game to see who can stay quiet the longest.

Visualization is another great technique for kids. It can be as easy as guiding them through awareness of each part of the body, starting at the tips of their toes and moving up to the top of their head. They can touch each body part as you go along, which can help them focus better. Try describing images of fairies dancing around each area of the body, or bright colors filling them up to keep it fun. You can also use guided imagery scripts for more ideas.

Keep It Short

Especially at first, itís good to aim for about 3-5 minutes of meditation. It can be helpful to set a timer so your kids know what to expect. There are lots of different phone apps you can get to help. For instance, Meditation Timer Pro has a great selection of sounds to gently start and end your meditation.

Make it clear the time is just a guide, itís not added pressure they need to feel bad about. Even in a 3 minute session, kids can easily get fidgety. Let them know itís alright to move. Just provide encouragement and accept that any new skill takes practice. Even for adults, meditation is an ongoing learning process.

Have Fun

Meditation should never be approached as a chore or something they ďmustĒ do. This will only cause children unneeded stress. Instead, always be encouraging and keep a spirit of fun.

Itís alright to laugh and be silly. And after a meditation, it can be a great opportunity for a game or spending some time together. You can ask them to recall events that made them feel really happy or sad, or encourage them to share any other stories. And of course share stories of your own, perhaps about your meditation or times when youíve also felt emotions similar to theirs.

Children have a lot coming at them today. Meditating together can provide a precious chance to reconnect with your children and help them deal with some of the stresses theyíre going through. By introducing meditation, you can give them an excellent life-long habit to promote their self-awareness and lead a more empowered life.

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Mike R10 months ago

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Mike R11 months ago

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Mike R11 months ago

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Mike R11 months ago

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Mike R11 months ago

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Mike R
Mike R11 months ago

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