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How to Teach Meditation to Your Kids
Meditation has countless benefits, which is why it’s estimated that 200 million-500 million people practice it across the globe. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to include any “chants” in your meditation or sit in a specific position.
Because it’s easier than most people realize, it’s a great practice for kids.
Consider some of those benefits, including better sleep, less stress, and improved focus. Those are all things that every parent wants for their children to help them lead healthy, productive lives – especially when challenges arise.
But, practicing meditation and teaching it are two different things. Additionally, kids and patience don’t typically go hand-in-hand, and that’s one of the keys to productive meditation.
So, what can you do, as a parent, to pass on the benefits of meditation to your children?
Understand the Benefits for Your Kids
Any way that meditation has improved your life, it can likely do the same for your kids. But, if you want your child to be interested in doing it, it’s important to talk to them about what to expect and how it can benefit them.
If you have a child or teen who is struggling with something like anxiety or stress, explain to them that meditation can be an effective option. Some of the benefits that might interest your kids include:
- Increased creativity
- Improved memory
- Improved focus
- Increased patience
- Improved academic performance
Meditation can also be a solution when your child is going through a tough life situation. For example, if you’re moving, changing schools, or going through a divorce, meditation can help them to manage stress.
If you have to be a “long-distance parent” because of a divorce, you can also practice meditation with them online using video chats, or by sharing tutorials you find that are especially helpful. The more interested your child is, the more likely they are to stick with it. If you can find programs online or create your own that you know your kids will love, they’ll be excited to do it every day – especially when they get to do it with you!
Know Where to Start
You don’t have to be a meditation guru to teach your child effectively. In fact, there’s an app for that. Some of the best meditation apps for kids include:
- Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame (for preschoolers)
- Scape (ages 8-9)
- Happy Not Perfect: Meditation (for teens)
While these apps can be helpful, exercise caution when giving your child a phone or tablet. Letting them use an app before bed could interrupt their natural circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep.
If you don’t want to count on technology to help, consider learning some kid-friendly meditations on your own before teaching them to your child one-on-one.
You can start with a simple deep breathing exercise, like “the balloon”. In this exercise, your child will relax their body by inhaling and exhaling deeply through the nose. You should tell them to visualize blowing up a balloon as they let out air slowly. It’s something that all kids recognize, and a great way to teach them how to focus on their breathing.
It’s also a good idea to let them join you when you meditate, or simply allow them to observe. It can pique their interest in meditation when they see how you do it and how you benefit from it. They don’t have to do exactly what you do, but it can give them a good starting point to know what to expect.
Get to the Root of the Issue
Chances are, you’re considering teaching meditation to your kids for a reason. Whether they’re struggling at school, with a major life change, or they just tend to be more naturally stressed, meditation can help.
But, if you’re worried that there’s a bigger issue, meditation may only be a piece of the puzzle. If you feel your child’s behavioral issues are continuing despite your best efforts, you might want to consider talking to a social worker to get to the root of the problem. Mental health concerns are part of a social worker’s job, and they can help you learn more about things like anxiety and depression in kids, so you know the best plan of action to take.
Working with a counselor or therapist may end up being necessary for your child, as well. But, that doesn’t mean you should ignore meditation as a management technique. It’s a wonderful way for your kids to stay in the present every day, reduce stress, and manage their overall mental wellness. Whether they’re dealing with other underlying issues, or you just want to make sure they’re making mental health a priority, it’s never a bad time to teach meditation to your kids, so they can keep benefitting from it as adults.