Exploring Meditation For Kids & the Potential Positive Benefits
Meditation, like yoga, may not just be beneficial for adults. We've discussed the many benefits meditation and mindfulness practices can have on adults with stress, sleep support, and even improving self-confidence. This practice can also improve the well-being and health of your child. In fact one Baltimore school featured on Upworthy.com replaced detention practice with learning to meditate.
Most people don’t think about having their children meditate on a regular basis. However, with the rising numbers of mental health issues faced by young people today, we believe there has never been a better time to get your kids meditating and focusing on things such as breathing techniques.
More kids, seemingly then ever before, feel stressed and
anxious in today's demanding fast-paced world. According to healthychildren.org, "children today have reportedly high stress levels".
You might not be sold on meditation for children right away, but we think as you continue to read this article and we go through some of the potential researched-based benefits of meditation for children, you may just start to understand the importance of starting meditation or other relaxation techniques for your kids.
A National Survey in 2017 concluded the number of children now meditating in the United States increased significantly between 2012-2017.
Why Your Kids Should Start Meditating?
You might think that your child is stress-free and carefree, but this is not always the case. Just like adults, children have a lot going on in their minds. They're learning new things each day and taking in new sensations and ideas. This can be stressful for anyone, of any age.
This doesn't mean that children can’t handle the demands of life, as children can be fairly resilient humans, however there may be potential for them to learn and cope with processes and experiences better with meditation.
The earlier in their youth
you can insert meditation into their daily routine, the more potential benefits they may have both short and long term. Tips are even offered based on age as to how long meditation session may last and frequencies:
Preschool: A few minutes per day.
Gradeschool Children: 3-10 minutes per day.
Teens & Adults: 5-45 minutes per day or more.
Meditation may help reshape a child’s brain and give them the tools to feel happier and more confident. We’ll get more into the positive benefits of meditation in the next section of this article.
Positive Benefits of Meditation For Kids:
Here, we'll expand on the benefits of meditation for kids. Your child’s life may just change for the better with just a small amount of meditation each day.
According to cnbc.com, The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents and teachers to teach meditation.
1. Meditation Improves Concentration Levels
Meditation is a known to help with concentration and focus, as this is the primary goal of each session. This is especially important for children. With growing distractions from technology and social media, it’s crucial to maintain your child’s attention span. Meditation can help increase their attention and help them focus on being their best selves. A study investigating meditation on children with ADHD (6-week program), showed improvements in children's ADHD behavior, self esteem and relationship quality.
Some of the general descriptors the children used in the above study were "better sleep and less anxiety" at home and "better concentration" at school.
Young people today are used to constant stimulation and activity, so your kids might not take to meditation right away, so we feel it's important to have them start at an early age.
2. Meditation Promotes Relaxation and Calmness In Kids
The bottom line is, children get stressed just as adults can, and it's important to identify this early-on and intervene.
What better non-intrusive and non-invasive way to try and help your children de-stress, then through mindfulness practices. You may just be able to reduce their stress and help them cope with stressors, both short and long term.
There are even apps out there with large libraries of guided meditation sessions to get started. One is called Headspace. Some of the themes include calm, focus, kindness and sleep.
Stress reduction also benefits your child’s overall well-being. With lower stress levels children may experience fewer mental health issues. A sense of center and calm can also be useful for kids with ADHD, autism, and other disorders.
3. Meditation Can Help Kids Manage Their Emotions Better
In addition to inducing a sense of calm in children, meditation may also help kids understand and control their emotions more effectively. Emotional regulation can be difficult for anyone, but the younger your kids are, and the earlier you teach them meditation, the more control they may have over themselves in the long-term.
In the mere definition of mindfulness, includes the ability to connect to self-awareness, and be more aware of your thoughts, which correlates with being more in charge of your emotions.
Meditation does not teach emotional suppression or being isolated, instead kids learn to healthily deal with and recognize turbulent emotions and thoughts. This is because breathing techniques and various other mindfulness techniques create a strong sense of self-awareness.
One teacher even said about meditation in her classroom with apps like Calm, that "you can hear a pin drop, her second graders are never more quiet then when they're meditating".
Kids may be able to better identify anxious emotions and will have the tools to combat these negative emotions and feelings, through meditation.
4. Meditation Can Improve Physical Health
Physical health can be improved through a
number of activities. However, meditation is particularly good for your child’s
health. Children can greatly benefit from a reduction in stress, and dedicated
time to inner balance.
Meditation has the potential to lower blood pressure, it can bolster immune functioning (by helping to regulate cortisol levels), reduce the occurrence of headaches, and may have many other benefits to a child’s physical well-being.
When kids meditate, they may feel better
and feel more energetic and healthy. Meditation and it's effects on the body, may also lend itself in decreasing the likelihood of illnesses, both short and long-term chronic issues.
5. Meditation Can Help With Sleep
Sleep also plays an important role in physical health. Your kids should always have a restful night of sleep, this way they're ready to make the most out of their day and handle the next situation. Meditation improves sleep, and may even help kids sleep more deeply at night.
We have already, in previous articles, mentioned mindfulness meditation improvement on quality of sleep in adults and that is may help to fight disorders like insomnia.
The fact is, meditation practices are reported to enhance melatonin levels and the precursors to melatonin like serotonin and noradrenalin. These hormones, when balanced, can help improve sleep length and quality!
REM sleep is especially important for brain development and physical growth. So, with better sleep, kids will see more healthy development. They will also most likely engage better with their studies and be fully prepared for anything that comes their way!
6. Meditation Improves Confidence
We all want our kids to be confident and anxiety-free. Luckily, meditation can act as a buffer against low self-confidence and indecision. This doesn’t mean that your kids will never doubt themselves, but when children are more confident, even in unfamiliar situations, they will learn and cope in an easier manner.
There really is no way to tell how quickly things such as confidence and self-self esteem may grow, but hopefully over time, as children deal more confidently with their emotions, they will be less fearful of what they don’t understand. Kids should be adventurous and have the confidence to explore the world around them.
Meditation will hopefully give them the power to do this well!
7. Your Kids May Have More Success In School
There has been anecdotal evidence suggesting that mediation in school may help with grades and attendance.
With better focus and better control of themselves, it makes sense that kids would naturally do better at school. Meditation may help in preparing your child to learn and interact with their peers more successfully.
There have been studies like this one published in 2016, suggesting mindfulness-meditation in educational settings can be useful in improving children's cognitive, emotional and social abilities.
Some schools are even implementing meditation into their curriculum in an effort to help improve students' test scores and attention in the classroom, however there seems to be limited specific studies of "grades" improving that we could find.
8. Meditation Can Help Kids Learn Empathy
Lastly, meditation for children can help your child learn empathy. Some research has suggested the effects of meditation on both adults and children, and has been found that kids not only have better control of their emotions when they meditate, but they can deepen their emotional understanding of themselves and others and gain more empathy.
Empathy is an important emotion for any
child to learn. When kids sit down and learn how to patiently deal with
emotions and stress, they are able to understand their peers and loved ones
Again, the effects of meditation takes patience and time, but we highly recommend getting your child into the practice of meditation, early and often. The positive benefits of regular meditation are seen in many studies, like ones we mentioned above and in other meditation blog posts within our website.
Please share your personal experiences with meditation in our blog comments section.
Thanks for stopping by!