If you are an ardent enthusiast for meditation, has it ever occurred to you that children may also benefit from the same? In this article we will be exploring this concept. You may want to introduce meditation for children, whether you’re a parent, teacher, aunt, grandparent, babysitter, or someone else who spends time with children. And this is a beautiful idea to ensure the well-being of children!
Mindfulness techniques, including meditation, yoga, and others, are more widely practiced now than ever before. Teaching meditation for children, have been demonstrated to improve a wide range of mental health outcomes, including decreased anxiety, hyperactivity, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and increased focus, respect, self-control, and empathy in the classroom.
Why should you engage in meditation for children?
Meditation for children is akin to “mindful movement.” Talk about what makes your little one smile and encourage her to touch the areas of her body that experience that joy. And then, you should ask her what makes her sad and where she experiences that sadness. Engaging her in the sights and sounds of taking a deep breath may help her overcome her negative emotions.
By engaging in these techniques for meditation for children, you’re teaching the brain to identify signs of stress and react with behaviours that bring the body back into equilibrium. Children are weaned from diapers when they are taught to recognise and respond appropriately to their bodily signals of a need to use the toilet.
What are the benefits of meditation for children?
Even in young children, meditation has been shown to have positive scientific effects. Research has linked meditation for children, to improved attention, memory, and concentration. A West Baltimore school has begun using its new “Mindful Moment Room” as a daily student detention alternative. This space is inviting and comfortable with its warm lighting, purple accents, yoga mats and essential oils. This isn’t something you’d see in a regular elementary school. Still, with the support of the school and some enthusiastic educators, this space has become a bright and cheery alternative to one that may have left a youngster feeling discouraged.
How to begin teaching meditation to children?
Based on my own experiences, I have arranged these unofficial teachings into a sequence to guide you in meditation for children. Below are a set of activities I created based on what I learned about practising mindfulness as well as teaching meditation to children.
While teaching breathwork or meditation for children, in my opinion, advising a young child to watch your breath is too vague a suggestion to make. As a result, your curriculum should progress from the more apparent senses (hearing, touching, and tasting) to the more delicate ones (breath, for example). This lays the groundwork for expanding one’s mindfulness beyond breathing into more fleeting mental and emotional states. The following tasks are carried out as a group (of any size). Since this edition is intended for young children, I have avoided using complex terminology and specific references to Buddhist meditative traditions from which these exercises are derived.
- One of the first techniques in meditation for children is to begin by asking everyone to shut their eyes and listen intently for the next minute. Awaken your senses. Silently record all you have learned. Anyone here has more than 10 syllables? Twenty or more? The most extensive list is read aloud by the person who made it. Repeat that, will we? Just shut your eyes and listen intently for a full minute.
Awaken your senses. Don’t forget to record your conversations. A majority of you must have lengthier second lists than the first. Indeed, [everyone will.] Is there anybody interested in reading their list?
- Strengthening one’s capacity for mindfulness is similar to training one’s muscles. With just a single minute, you were able to enhance your hearing greatly. That’s incredible, right? This is basis of the second technique while teaching meditation for children.
Studying, solving arithmetic problems, writing an English paper, and so on all need the use of the same underlying muscle—attention. Hence, if you meditate on a daily basis, you will discover that you can maintain your focus throughout the study for more extended periods of time and with greater quality. When we allow ourselves to feel pain or discomfort without reacting to it, we get perspective on the transience of emotions and bodily experiences.
Not every suggestion has to be implemented. We have an opportunity to stop and make a conscious decision about how to react. Younger children may have difficulty adjusting to the many new and exciting things that happen daily at school and childcare. They may act out, becoming hostile or bullying others until they receive what they want. Many children are rescued from high-stress settings and are then subjected to the exhausting daily struggle of balancing learning with just living.
Yet, even in the most trying circumstances, teaching meditation for children to regulate their emotions may help them find peace. Provide a quiet space where they can go to cool down when they start to feel anxious. Put the room to good use by teaching your kids how to meditate and letting them decorate it to their liking.
- Even the most basic practice of deep breathing may become a profoundly meditative experience while teaching meditation for children. Take them through the following instructions:
It doesn’t matter whether you’re standing or sitting. Take several deep, slow breaths in through your nose, then let out your breaths just as slowly. Now, pretend you’re attempting to fill a giant balloon with air by taking deep, calm breaths into your abdomen. You might make the activity more interesting and interactive to keep a younger student interested. While learning to focus on breathing, young children, particularly those under the age of six, enjoy the opportunity to get moving about more.
Thus, beginning with these approaches and mindsets will enable you to effectively teach meditation for children. More importantly, they will learn how to enhance their well-being through meditation at a young age.
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