Every parent wants a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life for their children! Mindfulness mediation for kids can give them a jumpstart to connect to oneself and avail the benefits of meditation from an early age.
As the children today have elevated energy levels and are super active in everything they do, their likeliness to elevated levels of stress, restlessness, anxiety, etc is high too. Only about 1.6% of children today meditate. And if research is to be believed, Children who meditate tend to develop more positive traits like self-awareness, self-control, attentiveness, empathy, peace, and respect for others. Additionally, guided meditation for kids helps children learn how to cope with stress and anxiety from an early age.
Meditation and mindfulness for children can be beneficial for now and in the long run too. But they shouldn’t be forced to meditate. Gentle encouragement and positive inculcation of the practice is essential to make it a learning and fulfilling experience for them.
Benefits of Meditation for Kids
Teaching Kids meditation is easier than we think! As the mind of a child is constantly observing, questioning, adapting, and discovering – mindfulness comes to them pretty naturally.
While adults may take efforts to lay attention to little things around them, think differently, or create non-judgemental awareness, as kids are not burdened with biases, presumptions, mental barriers, etc they have an edge when it comes to mindfulness. Here are some of the benefits of Meditation for children.
Noticed how kids today are faster in equipping to games, technology, and gadgets than we could in our times? This is because modern-day challenges have increased and make kids jump from thoughts-to-thoughts in fractions of seconds. Constant stimulation with varied activities like gaming, talking, playing, studying, internet, social tasks, etc can overburden the child. Meditation and mindfulness help them give their attention to one thing at a time and improve their ability to focus. Meditation improves cognitive performance, mental focus, and ability to cut away the disturbances and focus on what they want.
Fostering self-esteem and self-love
All of us at some point in time in our lives must have felt that we aren’t “good enough”. As children grow and life poses challenges at them, they can feel debilitating in their self-esteem, and confidence. As they meet other children and people around the chances of feeling insecure, bullied, negative beliefs get accelerated too. Meditation helps in creating a greater feeling of security, inner stability, and acceptance. It helps in creating self-love, inner peace, and joy.
Making kids practice gratitude and mindfulness inculcates a feeling of self-awareness, making the kids more confident about themselves. The inner confidence aids with meditation helping the kids to take their emotions, thoughts, and perspectives on a positive note. Confident kids are more adaptable, problem solvers, and able to deal with unfamiliar situations better.
Relieves Stress and improves performance
Not all children take pressure positively. While for some kids pressure acts as a catalyst, others get weighed down by the pressure to perform, learn, etc and develop feelings of stress, and anxiety early on. Meditation helps children cope with stress and traumas. It teaches them to be mindful, rational about situations, focus on their energies, and elevate their actions above their problems.
Healthy emotional and mental development
Our fast-paced lifestyle often leaves children under fear infliction, leaving them constantly feeling ‘not good enough’. Fear of losing loved ones, fear of not being enough, fear of not being accepted make it difficult for them to grow emotionally and mentally. Meditation helps them calm their mind, inculcate patience, face fears, and self-soothe to outgrow these challenges. Mindfulness helps children overcome obstructive paths and negative emotions.
Empathy, happiness, and bonding
Making people willing to act virtuous, meditation can help people open their minds to happiness and accept feelings of joy, empathy, love, friendship, etc with more acceptance. For kids, practicing meditation helps them grow up to be kind, empathetic, happy, and bonding towards others.
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Guided meditation for children
Kids’ meditation is different than adult meditation. They need more guidance, more attention, and simpler but regular practice to learn and adapt to mindfulness.
As kids are visual learners, its best to start meditating with them and let them follow the lead. Here are some of the guided meditation practice that can help teach them.
For toddlers, meditation need not be extensive, it can be as light as a discussion of little things around us. Try to start the discussion with things that inflict feelings of joy and happiness to see how they feel. Then slowly shift to talking about things that could make them feel unhappy or sad. To relieve these unpleasant feelings, try engaging them into conversations and solving their unhappiness with constructive solutions. You can also help them find soothe in music, deep breathing, and more.
Here you are recognizing signals of stress and pain and teaching them how to balance these feelings for personal growth.
Meditation for kids of 3-5 years of age can be about understanding their body, feeling their movements, and taking guided relaxation techniques. Start with kids bedtime meditation. As they lay on the bed, you can make them close their eyes and ask them to focus on certain body parts. Gently guide them through your voice to think about how each body part feels, its movements, etc. Even making them notice their breaths and stomach movements can help. Kids will start engaging as you weave sleep stories for kids and make them open to practice during bedtime.
Meditative music and visuals
The world of the internet has opened up doors for guided meditation in visuals and audio formats for the kids too. Here through creative visuals like birds imagery, colors of the rainbow, soothing voice, music, etc a whole experience is created which has a rather calming and soothing effect on the mind. As the kids follow the guidance they gently learn to breathe deeply, dance to music, embrace colors, and feel the joy within.
Nature and Sleep Meditation
Nature is magical! And it can be one of the best places for meditation and mindfulness. Take your kids close to nature to help them connect with the sound of birds, the flowing of the river, the silence of the jungle, and more. These natural sounds can inflict different emotions, a sense of calm, and soothe. Alternatively, you can play Kids sleep meditation practices where sounds of nature are incorporated to soothe, calm, and inculcate peace in kids.
The bottom line!
You can make a kid sit silently but you cannot force them to meditate. To teach kids meditation and mindfulness, one has to inculcate willingness to practice by being an example. Step up to demonstrate, make it a joyful experience, and create acceptance and deeper awareness in them first. Gently and mindfully, parents can make meditation a part of a child’s growth and development for them to live a healthier and happier life!