The practice of meditation involves sitting still, taking deep breaths, and quietly focusing your mind.
Can kids really learn to do this? Meditation for children is definitively possible, with a bit of practice.
At first, the idea of your energy-filled child slowing down on their own and being more relaxed might seem unattainable.
Slowly introducing them to the world of meditation and enabling them to practice mindfulness can actually help. This practice teaches them how to independently manage their behavior.
Teaching medication to children is expecially helpful when your child has challenges related to stress, depression, ADHD, or hyperactivity.
The good news is that statistics from the National Institutes of Health found that the percentage of children who practice meditation in the US has significantly increased from 0.6 percent in 2012 to 5.4 percent in 2017.
Although this is a small step in the right direction, the vast majority of kids aren’t part of the practice yet.
Perhaps this can be attributed to the erroneous idea that kids don’t have the proper attention span required to meditate.
We, as parents should always lead by example —especially when it comes to setting goals for our kids.
In an article on Parsley Health about why meditation is an essential part of parenting, one mother shared her story on how she got her children to practice meditation and how she kept tabs on their progress.
At the end of their first month together, her son was even reminding her to get off her work laptop and practice meditation, at the tender age of 9.
So, here are some other convincing reasons why you should encourage your children to practice meditation:
1. It can lead to an increased attention span
Nowadays, kids have so many things that occupy them.
Social media, portable gadgets, and video games can often distract them from other activities like reading a book or playing outdoor games.
Being over-stimulated by technology can leave their minds switched on at all times. That makes it difficult for children to focus on one thing at a time.
Meditation can teach your child that it’s possible to direct all of their energy to one task, and it actually feels great to disconnect once in a while.
2. It can lead to better class participation and empathy for others
A recent study measured the effectiveness of the Mindful Schools program involving around 400 elementary school students.
Their results showed that after five weeks of regular mindfulness sessions involving meditation, teachers reported that their students became more “focused, participatory, and caring.”
This demonstrates that with regular practice, children can become more effective learners and share their empathy with others.
If your children’s schools don’t currently offer meditation, try suggesting it to their teachers as a short relaxation exercise before naptime or after classes.
3. It can help them become more self-aware and manage their emotions
Do your kids often act on their impulses before thinking them through? Meditation can help them become more aware of their thought process and reactions in the heat of the moment, according to an article by Forbes on the scientific benefits of meditation.
Mindfulness or self-awareness enables you to realize when you’re stressed and angry, or on the verge of lashing out. Meditation allows you to be conscious of these moments and de-escalate yourself instead of adding more fuel to the fire. When your kids are feeling stressed out, taking deep inhales and exhales together can help them calm down.
4. It can improve their sleep quality at night
Getting enough shut-eye can be difficult if you and your kids are night owls.
One major benefit of meditation is that it can lull them to sleep. Dr. Bryan Bruno’s advice on meditation for kids is that “the best times to meditate are right when you wake up and right before you go to sleep.
Meditating before bed allows for deeper sleep, keeping your child well-rested and prepared for school or other activities.”
By sharing in the journey of guided meditation, you and your children can finally get some hard-earned rest.
Lastly, if you’re searching for something to help restore the peace during stressful situations with your kids, check out Ariadne Brill’s highly informative article on ‘Tantrum and Anger Management Using A Calming Kit’.