Why You Should Create a Daily Meditation Practice With Your Child
Back to school time is just around the corner. For many kids, this means another round of virtual learning when they had their sights set on being back in the classroom surrounded by their friends. Other families, like my own, have years of experience with online school. For us, it's just another school year, albeit in a changing world. No matter the situation, incorporating a daily meditation practice can help kids and parents cope with anxiety and stress.
What is Meditation?
People throw the word meditation around all over social media. It's hashtagged in the caption of an unbelievable yoga pose, nature photo, or included in a video of someone going through a stretchy sequence. Meditation is often grouped in with yoga, and while moving meditations are wonderful, meditation is more than just sitting still for a quick photo or yoga video.
Mirriam-Webster defines meditation as:
1. to engage in contemplation or reflection
2. to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on
one's breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the
purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness
1. to focus one's thoughts on: reflect on or ponder over
2. to plan or project in the mind: intend, purpose
As with many things in life, meditation is what you make it. There are many ways to define the term and countless ways to practice in real life. You don't have to be religious or spiritual to incorporate meditation into your life, but if you are, you still can benefit from the practice. You don't need to chant or have a mantra. If you're not into yoga, you can still meditate, and you don't need anything fancy to get started.
For me, meditation is about getting quiet, sitting still, and focusing on my breathing. It's a time to shut out the distractions of the modern world to just be present in the moment. Over the years, this is something I've taught to my son. We incorporate a meditation session each morning before getting started with school. This helps us both align our focus and get ready for the day ahead.
Making School Mindful: The Benefits of Meditation for Children
What are the benefits?
While there aren't many scientific studies to validate positive outcomes of a daily meditation practice for kids, parents and children alike can see the benefits of such in real life. Meditation teaches kids the value of mindfulness. It gives them the opportunity to learn how to sit still, be quiet, and be present, free from the distractions of our modern world. This is a often a challenging skill to teach, as kids today are used to constant stimulation from technological devices. Children become more in tune with their bodies and their emotions through meditation, allowing them to process how they feel and reducing impulsive reactions. A regular meditation practice can help kids focus their thoughts, calm anxiety through breathing techniques, and learn to manage their stress in a healthy way.
5 Amazing Benefits of Daily Meditation
How can I practice?
Incorporating a daily meditation practice with your kids is a great way to bond and manage the anxiety and stress that comes with an ever-changing world. There's no better time to get started than now, as the school year revs up.
There are many ways to include meditation into your routine. I recommend taking a few minutes in the morning before starting the school day.
- Find a comfortable, quiet area to sit together.
- Choose a guided practice on YouTube, a meditation app, or just practice by yourselves.
- Sit cross-legged, on your knees, or in a chair.
- Roll your shoulders back, engage your core, and close your eyes.
- Start by taking a deep breath in and slowly let it out. Focus on your breath and try to quiet your mind. If thoughts come up, try to let them go. It's helpful to imagine the thoughts as words floating into your brain through one ear, and then floating out again through the other ear, flying away from you.
- Once you are relaxed, or as relaxed as you're going to get, start playing with your breath. When my son and I meditate, we like to inhale for a count of five, hold the breath for a count of three, and then slowly exhale for a count of seven. You can choose any number you'd like, or completely disregard the count, opting for a more natural feel of the breath. We do this for about a minute.
- The remaining two to four minutes, we sit quietly, just focusing inward.
We do this for a total of three to five minutes. Then, feeling calm and ready to tackle the day, we get started on school work. This routine has helped my son learn to be more mindful. He's more focused on his school work and has learned how to effectively deal with his emotions and manage his stress. It's a simple practice that makes a big difference in everyday life.
7 Min Meditation to Start Your Day | Yoga With Adriene
Meditation for Managing Stress
Do you think your family could benefit from a daily practice of meditation?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.