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Meditation for Kids: Developing a Healthy Mind, Body, and Spirit

Updated on May 7, 2012
Relaxed pose, dim lighting and comfortable clothing all aid in making mediation easier for children.  You can even have a friend meditate with you!
Relaxed pose, dim lighting and comfortable clothing all aid in making mediation easier for children. You can even have a friend meditate with you! | Source

Meditation

Meditation is the process of slowing down the mind and body. It has long been known to be an important part of spiritual development. More recently, research has shown that it greatly impacts our minds and bodies as well. It has many health benefits such as reducing blood pressure, reducing anxiety, and creating a greater sense of self awareness. When we think of meditation we often relate this idea to something that adults participate in, but there are many reasons why children should also learn the practice of meditation.

Benefits of Meditation for Children

There are many benefits of meditation for children. First it teaches children to be aware of themselves. The way that their body feels during different situations and emotions that they are experiencing during these times. This awareness allows children to be productive rather than reactive in their response to these events in their lives. For example, instead of lashing out at someone by yelling at or striking them, children learn to breathe deeply and think about a responsible response to their anger or frustration.

If a child has an anxiety disorder or has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD), it teaches them how to slow their mind in order to focus their attention on completing the task at hand or relaxing enough to be able to enter a situation with more ease.

Even if your child does not face a diagnosed disability, it can help with a variety of situations that children encounter every day that can cause children to become anxious. For example, if your child is facing an important test or has to give a speech in front of a large crowd, reminding them to take deep breaths and relax using mediation techniques can help them. And what about bedtime? It can help make bedtime easier as you remind your child to relax their mind and focus on breathing. Meditation can be beneficial for everyone.

Breathing in Meditation

Breathing is the key to meditation. When you meditate, you are focusing on your breath. Teach children to breath in deeply and slowly through their nose. Help them to notice that as they do this, their chest will grow. Hold that breath for just a second and then slowly release the breath out through their mouth as their chest shrinks again. In the beginning, focusing their attention strictly on breathing is the most important. As your breathing becomes deep and regular, focus on quieting any distracting voices inside your head.

Focus on the light within you.
Focus on the light within you. | Source

Guided Meditation for Kids

So what if you do not practice mediation and are not sure how to teach your child these relaxation techniques? No problem, you can learn and practice along with them. I promise that the experience will help you in your own life as you face situations that may cause some anxiety for you.

There are many ways that you can guide a child through a meditative experience. Here are a couple very simple ways of introducing children to mediation. Remember meditation is about breathing slowly and deeply while quieting the "noise" in your head.

  1. Close your eyes and relax your body. Focus on taking deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Picture yourself sitting on a beach with the sun warming your body. Imagine the waves rolling in to the shore and out back to sea. With each wave that crashes to the shore, breathe in. With each wave that rolls out, breathe out. With each breath in, quiet any noise that is in your head. Set it aside for after this special quiet time. Repeat this process and imagery for several minutes to practice.
  2. Think about the sun. Imagine that you are holding the sun in your hands. The sun is producing a beautiful ball of sunshine in your hands. As you are holding the ball of light, breathe in and out deeply and slowly. As you breathe out, imagine that the light is shrinking down. Once your ball of sunshine is about the size of a baseball, place that ball of light in your belly. Now allow the light to fill you up with positive thoughts and feelings. Feel the light radiate to every part of your body, both inside and out. As you are breathing, set aside any voices or thoughts that enter your head. Remember to keep your mind quiet. Even after this meditation, when you are feeling nervous or anxious or worried, picture that ball of light inside of you and let it fill you with positive thoughts.

If your children have a hard time quieting the "noise" in their heads. Tell them to put their thoughts on a shelf. After they have this special quiet time, they can go back to the shelf and get their thoughts again.

Changing the "location" that children envision during meditation is a great tool as well. Some children may enjoy picturing themselves on a beach while others may relate more to sitting under a tree and using the swaying of branches back and forth in the wind to help guide their breathing. Encourage them to find a place that is special or comfortable for them.

Concluding the Mediation

As the children end the mediation session, bring their minds back to a conscious state. Have them wiggle their fingers and toes, stretch their arms and legs, and slowly open their eyes. You may even want to have a conversation with them about what they thought of this quiet time and how their body felt. Ask them things like, did your body feel different? Were you able to quiet your mind and let your thoughts and body relax? This conversation will be helpful for your children to think about how to improve their experience next time.

Extending Meditation Experiences

As children begin to develop and perfect their breathing techniques, you can extend the meditation experience to longer periods of time with a more focused intent. Some ideas for a focused meditation experience can be to have children meditate about various feelings that they experience. They can also explore disagreements that they have had with others or why they feel that they are not good at something such as math or a particular sport. As their meditative skills become perfected, they can delve deeper into self awareness.

Tips to Remember for Meditation With Children

Here is a quick reference to mediation success for kids.

  1. Find a quiet place to practice the meditation. Make sure all external noise has been turned off unless it is part of the meditation process.
  2. Keep it short. Children will not be able to meditate for long periods of time. Start with 3-5 minutes and then build up to longer periods of time.
  3. Focus on breathing. Remember that this is the key to calming the body and mind.
  4. Play soft music if necessary. This would be one example of external noise that would be ok to include.
  5. Wear comfortable clothing. Although this is not necessary, it helps the body to relax if there is nothing constricting the blood flow.
  6. Sit on pillow. Again comfort is key here. Sitting on a hard surface may cause a distraction for children and take away from the process. Use a pillow or some other type of cushion to add comfort.

Have your children ever practiced mediation?

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    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      It is something that I continue to work on and try to improve upon. Good luck to you Prasetya Utama.

    • Prasetya Utama profile image

      Prasetya Utama 

      6 years ago from Indonesia

      I have no experience meditation in everyday practices. But I try to understand and want to learn every sentence in your article. I wanto to practice its.

    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      I agree pinto2011! Thanks so much for your visit and comments.

    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      So glad that they helped ESA. I am working on these with my own two little ones!

    • pinto2011 profile image

      Subhas 

      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Our kids really needs to adhere to the above steps you have recommended and certainly these steps will prove more benefits than watching TV.

    • EyesStraightAhead profile image

      Shell Vera 

      6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I have been working with my 4-year-old to quiet down and just sit and hear the world. We haven't reached the point of meditation in its full sense yet, but I have been able to get her to sit quietly by a stream and listen to the water for a few minutes, or rest in the backyard and listen for birds. By doing this, she has started to take time to pray by herself and is slowly working toward joining me in meditation.

      You are right that children have a curiosity about what we are doing and want to be like us. I see her watch me when I sit and read, sit and stare out the window, or sit to meditate or pray. I see her watch and for a moment she will sit to copy me but then quickly realizes this is not a fun moment! I have to find a way for her to fully realize the fun comes from having a cleared mind, a healthy sense of self, and a calm spirit.

      Thank you for sharing such quality hubs! This information is very helpful and I look forward to trying these steps with my daughter to see if the new approach will help.

    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Highvoltagewriter. I'm glad that you enjoyed both, thanks for your comments.

    • Highvoltagewriter profile image

      William Benner 

      6 years ago from Savannah GA.

      Great hub! My kids are grown and yet this is great concept and the video was also great!

    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      That's awesome Krystal. The parents of my students are definitely not practicing mediation with them and I really wish that they would. Thanks for sharing your experience Krystal.

    • KrystalD profile image

      Krystal 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles

      I love this! I am noticing more and more parents at my school starting to practice meditation with their children. I think this is a wonderful trend. In a time where people are quick to throw medication down a child's throat, I think trying natural ways to calm the mind is a much better starting place. Thank you cardelean for another great hub!

    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks K9. I agree that we don't often think about that but kids are really over scheduled these days and it really can cause a lot of anxiety and stress. Thanks for sharing it with your friend.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      6 years ago from Northern, California

      What a brilliant concept! I guess as adults we rarely think kids need stress relief. As you point out, that couldn't be more incorrect! Teaching them to meditate is the best idea I have ran upon in quite some time. I will pass this on to my good friend who just adopted a little girl. Thanks for this article.

      HubHugs~

      K9

    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Lol, 'a big kick' that's great Simone! :) Anything that gets kids to slow down and breathe deeply I think is great. Thanks for the comments Simone.

      I know this is right up your alley Mom! Glad you liked it.

      I couldn't have said it better healingsword. There are sooo many benefits to meditation, thanks for adding those and thanks again for the share.

      Modeling is very important. I think that you are right, children's natural curiosity about what their parents are doing leads them to want to try. Maybe that's why my kids are always under my feet when I'm cooking or trying to get the spoon from me! ;) And yes Gail, as long as she had her friend help her!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      6 years ago from South Carolina

      This is an awesome hub and a great idea of a very powerful coping mechanism for stress relief that can be taught to children.

      I agree that the key is to keep their initial exposure short and guided. I also think that if kids see a parent meditating they may quite naturally want to join in.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

      Grace looks like quite the little meditator!

    • healingsword profile image

      Ann Wehrman 

      6 years ago from California

      This is a wonderful Hub, Cardelean! I agree that children, as well as people of all ages, greatly benefit from meditation. Our society needs to have a more open mind toward meditation, yoga, and various other natural healing and living methods--it would help us grow and improve, and heal many of our current problems caused by stress, etc. Children who learn meditation, yoga, and more when young will be more easily able to bypass factors that are currently destroying our youth, such as obsession with materialism, a lack of integral harmony, and a lack of awareness of real values in life. Great, courageous Hub. Voted way up.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      I'm thrilled to find this topic: meditation for kids, added to the Weekly Topic on health hubs for kids. It is such an important tool and I am happy to know that you are introducing this to your kids.

      Meditation is beneficial in so many ways and the younger we learn how to relax our minds and 'connect' to our inner source of strength and wisdom, the better off this world of our will be.

      What an empowering and effective device for children. Voted up and across. BTW-the website is intriguing and the video was an added plus. Great tips here.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      This is fantastic! Kids really can gain a bunch from meditation. Also, I recommend Tai Chi as a form of meditation for kids who have trouble sitting still. Many actually get a big kick out of it because it makes them think of Avatar! Hehehe.

    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      I haven't actually tried it in my class but I do know some teachers that have. But I'm sure you are right, you'd probably just have to call it something like clearing your thoughts or quiet your mind.

      I agree teaches12345, it is a great stress reliever. With the amount of stress that so many children face in their lives today, it is a great tool to know how to use to cope with these situations. Thanks for your comment.

      I think that what ever way you can get your children to learn to relax, focus and quiet their minds is fantastic. What a great Mom you are to introduce them to these techniques Melovy.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      This is an interesting hub. I’ve used various meditation techniques over the years, both on my own and with my children. They didn’t enjoy the ‘just sitting’ variety, so we’ve used guided meditation or as we tend to refer to it - relaxation. We also use The Work of Byron Katie and the Sedona Method, both of which help to quiet the mind and emotions.

      One teacher my younger daughter had actually used to start the afternoon with a guided meditation session. My daughter loved it.

      Your guided meditations sound great, and there’s lots of useful information here. Great hub.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Meditation is good practice and helps relieve stress, regain balance and emotional control. Reflection as part of meditation is useful in gaining introspective and renewing faith. If it is coupled with massage therapy it doubles the emotional healing benefits along with strengthing the body, soul and spirit. Great hub.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      I had a cassette tape I played for the kids sometimes back in the day. One side was a guided imagery meditation, the other was just music. They couldn't get into it too much though.

      Nice hub idea though. I had a yoga teacher who was trying to introduce it into the local schools and I wish they would teach this in schools but you probably couldn't call it 'meditation.' Too many people think it's brainwashing (yes, I've heard that) or religious or the idea is just so unfamiliar to them that they resist it.

    • cardelean profile imageAUTHOR

      cardelean 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Meditation techniques are great for a lot of things. Children really need to be taught strategies for keeping their emotions under control. The more strategies that we can teach them, the better off we all are! And what a GREAT activity for Scouts! Thanks for your comments and vote up!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Great hub! I lead cub scouts and last year, we had a yoga instructor come and teach our group of 14 2nd graders some poses. She also had a great meditation technique that we use from time to time - super for when your child is having a tantrum. It puts them back into control and keeps things from escalating. Rated up - love this!

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