Updated: September 8, 2022
By Elizabeth Hines, contributing writer
There may come a time when kids experience stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. And, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the world can seem scary for children, bringing mental health issues to the forefront.
There has to be a way to help them deal with these issues, right?
The good news is, meditation can help people – including children – manage their feelings, while relieving stress, depression, and so on. As we dive into the subject, this article will discuss the benefits of meditation and breathing exercises, as well why introducing mindfulness is so important. To learn more about 5 easy ways to teach kids to meditate, read on!
Benefits of Meditation for Kids
According to Parents.com, there are many benefits of meditation for kids. Such benefits include the following:
And, all of these benefits are essential to help children manage their feelings and be more creative in school and play.
Mindfulness for Kids
It’s important to instill mindfulness for kids from the time they are young. Why? Well, because mindfulness comes with the following benefits:
- It helps quiet your ego
- It helps you manage your feelings and emotions
- You learn to connect to your inner voice of wisdom
By instilling mindfulness in children, they too can achieve peace and calm.
Simple Meditations for Kids: Teach Kids to Meditate
If you’re looking for simple meditations for kids – ones that aren’t too complicated – then consider these activities:
- Try incorporating storytelling with meditation. Or, you can even introduce a book about mindfulness and then try to practice a simple breathing technique or meditation with kids.
- Try Lotus Breath, which focuses on conscious breathing. You can add certain yoga hand positions (or mudras), songs, etc. to this meditation, while touching the pinkies and thumbs together to make a lotus flower. When you take a deep breath, imagine smelling the flower.
Calming Breathing Techniques for Kids
Breathing for kids (also called pranayama) can be combined with meditation. But there are also lots of breathing exercises for children that will help them learn how to calm themselves.
One popular breathing technique is balloon breath. This is where you inhale through your nose, making the belly expand like a balloon. Then, when you exhale through the nose, the belly pulls back, deflating the “balloon.”
Another technique is the bear breath. For this technique, you breathe in through your nose for four counts, and then exhale from the nose slowly for four counts.
No matter which breathing exercise you choose, pranayama can help children focus when doing things like homework or getting ready for bed. It can also help kids take a break when stressed, sad, or angry.
Visualizations for Kids
Meditation can be more effective when you incorporate visualizations for kids. In fact, guided meditations can help children get ‘in the zone’ and relax faster.
One of the best guided visualizations is the “Light Bath.” The “Light Bath lets kids imagine themselves being bathed in positive energy, of which they can visualize as light. Now, this “light” can be any color and or any feeling. For example, kids can imagine a pink light, which can symbolize love. As they imagine being bathed in this light, they can also visualize the things that they associate with it. In the case of the pink light, they can visualize who they love – their parents, their friends, their siblings, and so on.
And then, at the end of the guided visualization, children can give thanks to being happy and healthy, thus feeling more at peace.
How to Teach Kids to Meditate
So, now that you’ve learned more about how meditation can benefit kids, it’s time to teach them how to meditate and incorporate it into their lives. Here are 5 tips to help you teach kids to meditate.
First things first: Help your child to get into a relaxed position, either sitting or laying down on their back.
2. Focus On Breath
Next, have your child focus on their breath. It’s a basic meditation technique that even younger children can try.
3. Walking Meditation
To do this, ask your child to breathe in slowly while counting to three. Then, have them breath out while also counting to three. As they breathe, you can ask them to focus on something. For example, when they breathe in, ask them to focus on feeling cool when they breathe from their nose. Then, when they exhale, you can have them feel the warmth as air moves out. As they focus on their breathing, kids will learn to focus more on the present moment and less on what distracts them.
The good thing about meditation is that it doesn’t have to be a sitting activity. In fact, you can walk as you meditate!
One technique to try is to have your child move around with awareness. Make sure that they focus on each move they make – from their foot work, to their arms as they carefully take each step, to their balance as they try to maintain it, etc.
A walking meditation is a simple meditation for kids to try, particularly if they don’t like sitting still. Plus, it helps them focus on moving, and maintaining their balance as they move.
4. Visualize Someone You Admire
A fun exercise for kids to try is visualizing someone they admire as they meditate. First, let them concentrate on breathing for two or three minutes. Next, have them visualize the face of someone they admire (i.e. their parents, their favorite basketball player, etc.) Then, ask them to hold that image in their head, while keeping other thoughts at bay.
5. Create Challenges
So, now that you’ve gotten the basics of meditation, you can now create special challenges and games for kids to try.
One challenge to have kids try is the “Five Minutes of Life Observation.” This activity has your child spend five minutes focusing on every activity that they do, taking note of their senses, feelings, and reactions to those activities.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Ultimately, children learn from adults through observations. So, when they see you meditate, they’ll want to do the same.
We hope that, by following these 5 easy ways to teach children to meditate, toddlers on up to teenagers will learn to meditate and reap the benefits of mindfulness in everyday life!