Meditation For Kids:
Meditation, like yoga, may not just be beneficial for adults. We’ve discussed the many benefits meditation and mindfulness practices can have on adults with stress, sleep support, and even improving self-confidence. This practice can also improve the well-being and health of a child. In fact, one Baltimore school featured on Upworthy.com, replaced detention practice with learning to meditate. So lets dive into, meditation for kids!
Truly, most parents probably don’t think about meditation for their kids on a regular basis. However, with the rising number of mental health issues faced by young people today, we believe there has never been a better time to get your kids meditating and focusing on things such as breathing techniques.
More kids it seems, then ever before, feel stressed and anxious in today’s demanding fast-paced world. According to healthychildren.org, “children today have reportedly high stress levels”.
You may not be sold on meditation for children right away. However, there is research that suggests this practice can be beneficial, even for children. Consequently, you may begin to see potential, further acknowledging the positive role of mindfulness activities or relaxation techniques, for kids.
A National Survey in 2017 concluded the number of children now meditating in the United States increased significantly between 2012-2017.
Why Your Kids Should Start Meditating?
Oftentimes, as a parent, you may automatically believe your child is stress and carefree. However, is this always the case? Just like adults, children face many dilemmas of their own. For example, learning new skills, tasks, even changes in their bodies, regularly. Furthermore, taking in new sensations and ideas. This can be stressful for anyone, of any age.
Now, this doesn’t mean that children can’t handle the demands of life. We believe children are fairly resilient humans. That being said, everyone learns to cope and adjust to changes differently. There may be potential for them to learn and cope with processes and experiences better, with mindfulness activities, such as meditation.
Potentially, the earlier in their youth acquainted with a plethora of coping skills, the better off they are in the short and long term. Furthermore, tips are offered based on age as to how long meditation session may last, and frequencies:
- Preschool: A few minutes per day.
- Grade-school Children: 3-10 minutes per day.
- Teens & Adults: 5-45 minutes per day or more.
Meditation may help reshape a child’s brain and give them the tools to feel happier and more confident.
Positive Benefits of Meditation For Kids:
Let’s expand on the potential benefits of the meditation practice for kids. Your child’s life may just change for the better with just a small amount of meditation each day.
According to cnbc.com, The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents and teachers to teach meditation.
1. Meditation Improves Concentration Levels
Meditation is known to help with concentration and focus. Moreover, this is one of the principle goals of each session. This is especially important for children. With growing distractions from technology and social media, it’s crucial to maintain your child’s attention span.
Meditation can help increase their attention and help them focus on being their best selves. A study investigating meditation on children with ADHD (6-week program), showed improvements in children’s ADHD behavior, self esteem, and relationship quality. Some of the general descriptors the children used in this study included “better sleep and less anxiety” at home, and “better concentration” at school.
Young people today are used to constant stimulation and activity. So, although they may not take to meditation right away, introducing them to these sorts to skills (early-on) may get easier over time.
2. Meditation Promotes Relaxation and Calmness In Kids
Children get stressed just as adults can. As beforementioned, it’s important to identify this early-on and intervene.
What better non-intrusive and non-invasive way to try and help your children de-stress, then through mindfulness practices. You may be able to reduce their stress and help them cope with stressors, both short and long term.
There are even apps with large libraries of guided meditation sessions to get started. One is called Headspace. Some of the themes include calm, focus, kindness and sleep.
Stress reduction also benefits your child’s overall well-being. With lower stress levels, children may experience fewer mental health issues. A sense of center and calm can also be useful for kids with ADHD, autism, and other disorders.
3. Meditation Can Help Kids Manage Their Emotions Better
In addition to inducing a sense of calm in children, meditation may also help kids understand and control their emotions more effectively. Emotional regulation can be difficult for anyone. However, the younger your kids are, and the earlier you teach them meditation, the more control they may have over themselves in the long-term. Ask yourself;
- When you were young, was it easy to control your emotions?
- Did you cope well to stress and/or changes in life?
- What tools were at your disposal?
The mere definition of mindfulness, includes the ability to connect to self-awareness, and be more aware of your thoughts. In like manner, it makes sense this would correlate with being better in charge of your emotions.
Meditation does not teach emotional suppression or being isolated. On the contrary, kids learn to healthily deal with and recognize turbulent emotions and thoughts. This is because breathing techniques and various other mindfulness techniques, create a strong sense of self-awareness.
One teacher even said about meditation in her classroom with apps like Calm, that “you can hear a pin drop, her second graders are never more quiet then when they’re meditating”.
Kids may be able to better identify anxious emotions and will have the tools to combat these negative emotions and feelings, through meditation.
4. Meditation Can Improve Physical Health
Physical health can be improved through a number of activities. However, meditation is particularly good for your child’s health. Children can greatly benefit from a reduction in stress, and dedicated time to inner balance.
Meditation has the potential to lower blood pressure. Furthermore, it can bolster immune functioning (by helping to regulate cortisol levels), reduce the occurrence of headaches, and may have many other benefits to a child’s physical well-being.
When kids meditate, they may feel better, more energetic and healthy. Meditation and it’s effects on the body, may also lend itself in decreasing the likelihood of illnesses, both short and chronic issues.
5. Meditation Can Help With Sleep
Sleep also plays an important role in physical health. Your kids should always have a restful night of sleep. As a result, preparing them to make the most out of their day and handle the next situation. Meditation improves sleep, and may even help kids sleep more deeply at night.
Previous posts we’ve mentioned mindfulness meditations improvement on quality of sleep in adults. Can these principles and benefits apply to children as well?
Meditation practices are reported to enhance melatonin levels and the precursors to melatonin, like serotonin and noradrenalin. These hormones, when balanced, can help improve sleep length and quality.
REM sleep is especially important for brain development and physical growth. So, with better sleep, kids will see more healthy development. This may also lend way to better engagement with their studies, being fully prepared for anything that comes their way!
6. Meditation Improves Confidence
We all want our kids to be confident and anxiety-free. Luckily, meditation can act as a buffer against low self-confidence and indecision. This doesn’t mean that your kids will never doubt themselves, but when children are more confident, even in unfamiliar situations, they will learn and cope in an easier manner.
There really is no way to tell how quickly things such as confidence and self-esteem may grow. However, hopefully over time, as children deal more confidently with their emotions, they will be less fearful of what they don’t understand. Kids should be adventurous and have the confidence to explore the world around them.
Meditation will hopefully give them the power to do this well!
7. Your Kids May Have More Success In School
There has been anecdotal evidence suggesting that mediation in school may help with grades and attendance.
With better focus and better control of themselves, it makes sense that kids would naturally do better at school. Meditation may help in preparing your child to learn and interact with their peers more successfully.
There have been studies like this one published in 2016, suggesting mindfulness-meditation in educational settings can be useful in improving children’s cognitive, emotional and social abilities.
Some schools are even implementing meditation into their curriculum in an effort to help improve students’ test scores and attention in the classroom. However, there seems to be limited specific studies of “grades” improving that we could find.
8. Meditation Can Help Kids Learn Empathy
Lastly, meditation for children can help your child learn empathy. Some research has suggested effects of meditation on both adults and children. Concluding, kids not only have better control of their emotions when they meditate, but they can deepen their emotional understanding of themselves and others, gaining more empathy.
Empathy is an important emotion for any child to learn. When kids sit down and learn how to patiently deal with emotions and stress, they are able to understand their peers and loved ones better.
Again, the effects of meditation takes patience and time. We highly recommend getting your child into the practice of meditation, early and often. The positive benefits of regular meditation are seen in many studies.
Please share your personal experiences with meditation in our blog comments section.