We all want happy, healthy lives for our children. Teaching kids how to meditate can give them a jump start to accessing the many benefits of meditation. Even though today’s kids exhibit elevated levels of restlessness, stress and anxiety, only 1.6% of children in the U.S. meditate. Yet several studies suggest that kids who practice mindfulness tend to develop positive traits such as increased self-control, better attentiveness in class, and more empathy and respect for others. In addition, meditation can help children manage challenging conditions such as stress, depression, ADHD and hyperactivity.
Did you know that it’s easy for children to learn mindfulness? Many kids have a natural feel for it. Young kids aren’t burdened by as many biases, barriers or preconceptions, which gives them an edge when it comes to non-judgmental awareness.
Science shows that meditation has profound physical and mental benefits for children, yet only 1% of children in the US are taught the practice of meditation.
In just a generation or two, things have changed so much that our attention spans can’t keep up. Between social media and technological gadgets, kids – and adults – are constantly surfing the internet, interacting via social media and playing video games indoors instead of reading a book, taking a walk or playing sports. Children who grow up with their noses in their devices often find it difficult to focus and remain attentive. Meditation teaches them that it’s possible to direct their attention at one thing at a time, and that it actually feels great not to be distracted.
Due to pressures and circumstances beyond their control (and sometimes beyond anyone’s control), kids may sometimes feel like they’re not able to excel, and can become overwhelmed. This can be tough sometimes, especially when a child is bullied or badly teased by others. Most of the insecurities people have as adults can be traced back to their childhoods. The good news is that meditation can bolster children’s feelings of security, empathy and inner stability, and this, in turn, builds compassion, joy and self-esteem. Meditation teaches kids – and adults – that right now is enough.
Mindfulness for children helps kids gain self-awareness and become more confident. The confidence develops naturally when kids learn from their meditation practice that they don’t have to react to all of their thoughts and emotions – they can choose which ones merit their attention and response. Confident kids are better equipped to deal with unfamiliar situations. Thanks to this adaptability, they become better problem solvers and develop a deeper appreciation of life.
Children’s meditation helps them learn how to share their love with other children. They become more patient and understanding, listen more readily to others and empathize with them. One study cited in Slate Magazine “looked at the effectiveness of the Mindful Schools program on around 400 low-income, mostly minority elementary-school students. It found that after five weeks of regular mindfulness sessions, teachers reported that students became more focused, participatory, and caring.” Clearly, mindful children have the tools they need to be happy children.
Watch kids describe dow meditation works and helps calm them down.
Preschool Children: A few minutes per day
Grade-school Children: 5-10 minutes twice a day
Teens & Adults: 20-60 minutes per day
There is no wrong way to meditate. When we simply take the time to be aware, and look inward, we are receiving the benefits of meditation. We never want to force children to meditate, we want to encourage them in a loving way, and remind them of the many wonderful reasons why it’s important.
We understand meditation is a very new practice for many of us. Meditation should never be discouraging or frustrating. Do not have expectations from meditation, do not set a limitation for yourself, or believe you “can’t meditate”. You can. You simply just need to be taught how. Meditation is for everyone.
Join us every Saturday at 1:30pm as we host our "Enlightened Kids" class. This class is for ages 6-10.
If every 8 yr old in the world would be taught meditation, we would eliminate violence from the world in one generation.