Meditation looks a little different for kids than adults, but the benefits are the same.While some people assume that meditation is only helpful for adults, it can actually benefit children in the same way it helps adults! By teaching your child how to meditate at a young age, you are preparing them with healthy coping mechanisms for the future. Plus, they’ll reap the other benefits, such as lowered blood pressure, improved immune system function, and higher levels of creativity.Let’s take a look at how to introduce your child to meditation and how to make it a part of your child’s daily routine.
The Benefits of Meditation for Children
Practicing meditation can offer your child invaluable stress management skills and help them focus, retain information, and sleep better. Meditating can improve your child’s mood, creativity, and overall well-being. If your child has anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), an eating disorder, or behavioral problems, meditating can also improve their attention and behavior.Let’s not forget about the physical benefits. Not only will meditating decrease your child’s stress hormones levels, but it will also calm their nervous system. Meditating can further improve immune system function, lower blood pressure, and improve gastrointestinal symptoms.By meditating with your child, you can also improve your relationship with them, decrease familial stress, and help them stay in the moment, handle peer pressure, and make mindful decisions.
How to Introduce Meditation to Children of Different Ages
Meditation looks a little different for kids than adults. Young children may not understand the point of it, so you’ll need to introduce them to meditation in a fun way and start slowly. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to do so, so you should consider their age and level of interest.For children under the age of seven, begin each day with a minute of silence. Then, work together to establish a positive intention for the day. When your child turns three or four, you can start teaching them simple breathing exercises that they can incorporate into their morning or bedtime routine. For example, tell your child to imagine inflating a large balloon any time they are upset. Encourage them to inhale slowly and deeply, getting enough air to make sure the balloon will be fully inflated before exhaling slowly to make sure the balloon doesn’t pop. Breathing techniques like this will serve as a strong foundation for more advanced practices.Once your child turns seven, they can start joining you when you’re performing simple movements, such as pranayama. In a quiet space, have your child sit in a comfortable cross-legged posture with their eyes shut and their hands on their thighs. Have them focus on their breathing and turn their attention inward. Make sure to talk to your child about why meditation is important, but don’t worry if they can’t stay still or focused. Practice makes perfect!You can also introduce your child to yoga nidra, or visualization, to help them relax. Think of yoga nidra like a yoga bedtime story, and have your child visualize things they’d like to achieve the following day or week.To calm their mind and slow their nervous system, your child can perform a simple sound meditation. Have your child slowly walk barefoot across grass or sand as they chant “om” (or aum) in their mind.If you have a teenager, you can join them or be a little less hands-on and allow them to create their own safe, quiet space where they can ground themselves and meditate for five to 45 minutes each day.
How to Make Meditation Part of a Routine for Children
Making meditation part of your child’s routine starts with taking the time to talk about the benefits with your child, practicing some simple movements, and/or meditating together every day. You can even have your child perform hand movements when they meditate, as they will begin to associate the tactile cue with relaxation and focus.
Helping Your Child Learn To Meditate
The world is more stressful than ever, and teaching kids how to meditate can help them connect their mind and body, stay focused, and manage their stress. You and your child can use websites, videos, audio recordings, books, or apps to explore various techniques. You can also speak with a professional, like with a doctor at Kids’ Health in Beverly, Massachusetts, a leading pediatric clinic. Contact us today to schedule an appointment....
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