Like us adults, a child’s brain gets tired quickly and benefits from having opportunities to relax and focus. This can be offered by meditation, which has been proven to help children function more effectively.
It has been reported that children live with high-stress levels, which teachers are recommended to battle with mindfulness training.
Possibly one of the best lessons to children is how to stop, focus and breathe.
The Benefits of Meditation for Children
Meditation is mainly used to rest the body and mind. However, it has many mental, physical and spiritual benefits, including disease treatment and prevention.
Several school setting studies show improved attention and behaviour.
Some of these studies have shown benefits for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, school performance, sleep, behaviour problems and eating disorders.
Meditation has also been shown to produce physical benefits to the nervous system and decrease stress hormones.
Studies have also shown improvements in gastrointestinal symptoms, obesity, headaches, high blood pressure, pain sensitivity, immune function and even lower blood pressure and heart rate.
The different meditative techniques
Meditation has been around for a long time and has been used to improve health and well-being, but people do not all use one technique; there are many forms of meditation.
When you think of meditation, you picture someone sitting in an upright position with their legs crossed with their eyes closed in a trance, right? Well, if this is you, then you’re not wrong. The most common types of meditation practice are concentration & mindfulness (which is the cliche idea), movement-based, cultivating positive emotions and emptying.
The majority of practices in meditation use breathing techniques to transition into a state of calmness. As you have probably already guessed, mindfulness meditation on breath involves sitting quietly, closing the eyes and bringing attention to breathing. When the attention drifts away, which is likely to happen, the meditator will need to get their attention back to their breathing.
This method of meditation is fantastic; however not quite suited for children, as sitting still for extended lengths of time can be a challenge for the average kid. So perhaps a movement-based meditation, such as yoga, maybe the best option to introduce them into reflection.
Tips for meditating
Meditation can be hard to practice for extended lengths of time, especially for young kids, so it is recommended that children up to the age of six only practice for a few minutes a day.
Children aged six up to twelve are recommended to try to practice from around five to ten minutes a day, twice a day. Teens and adults should aim for five to forty-five minutes sessions or more based on preference.
Young children are at the stage in their life where they start learning to manage their intense emotions. Deep breathing can help them go through this process, especially before and after a tantrum.
It can be challenging for your child to try meditation as a parent. It can be helpful to try incorporating deep breathing into your child’s daily nighttime routine; this will allow them to wind down before attempting to meditate.
Sometimes it’s hard to get our children to practice meditation as it can be frustrating and tedious for them, and usually, as the novice ourselves, we are the blind trying to lead the blind. So bringing a trained professional onboard can be very beneficial, such as a counsellor or other individuals with meditation training.
Meditation can seem a struggle to learn, but don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by it! There’s lots of content out there that can make us into fantastic mentors, such as books, podcasts, videos, online training, websites and smartphone apps. It is essential to find what works for you and practice, practice!
Here’s to a calmer mind, body and spirit for our children and us!
Blog by Aaron Norman