Why Your Child Should Meditate
Teaching your children meditation is one of the best gifts you can give them. Learn how meditation can bring about many healthy habits in your children.
By Ashwin Dewan
If every child in the world would be taught meditation, we would eliminate violence from the world within one generation – Dalai Lama
Ravi Chauhan, who works in an NGO, in the tiny town of Namchi in Sikkim, often found his six-year-old son was stressed and showed little to no inclination towards his studies. Upon proper investigation, Ravi found his son was under pressure in school to get good grades and as a result, was losing interest. At the advice of his friend, Ravi took his son to a meditation centre where his son enrolled in a basic meditation course. In due course of time, the results began to show and today, Ravi’s son is slowly getting back to his normal, cheerful self.
This incident shows how beneficial meditation is for children. You provide the best of education, food, or clothes to your children. Now, it is time you teach mediation to your children, which will keep them healthy and happy for life.
Reasons your child should meditate:
While mediation requires children to approach the task with seriousness, you can always add a fun element to the whole exercise. Let us engage in the benefits of MEDITATION one letter at a time.
MANAGING body and mind: Stress is one big factor for children gaining weight. In response, children eat a lot of food to feel good. Meditation is known for calming nerves so every time your child feels stress or is depressed, he can turn to meditation to calm down. This acts as a metabolism booster because your child will lose his habit of turning to food for solace everytime he is stressed out.
EMOTIONAL regulation: Children often go through stages of frustration and fear. It is common for children to have tantrums and tears when things are not going as they wanted and when they have not learnt to be patient. For instance, a toddler would scream for a toy while a school-going boy would try to do the opposite when parents tell him to not do a thing. Overcoming fear of many things is also another challenge for toddlers growing up. Meditation helps children regulate their emotions.
DECISION-making: Meditation has shown an ability to reduce the symptoms of depression according to a study conducted at John Hopkins University. Meditation involves an active form of brain training that results in heightened awareness of how things work out and why one is experiencing a feeling. This enables the participant to find out the cause of depression and, in the process, decrease this feeling.
INNER happiness: One important benefit of mediation for children is that it teaches inner happiness. If children feel relaxed and happy from within, they will begin to enjoy life and not take too much stress over things. Inner peace and happiness are vital for the self-growth of children.
TAMING anger: Meditation teaches your child to channel his anger in a positive way. Anger management is a very useful tool to teach children from an early age. Growing children are still learning to cope with anger and try to use this emotion as a defense against physical and emotional pain.
ATTENTIVE focus: Children are restless and inquisitive by nature. They cannot stay put on one thing for a long period as their attention wavers onto the next thing. As parents, we want our children to concentrate all their attention on a single thing like studies. Meditation teaches children to stay focused and remain calm.
THINKING and planning: Children today have a lot on their plate ranging from academics to homework to co-curricular activities, etc. You can help your child by teaching them to think and plan ahead and meditation can do this. With mediation, children can become more efficient, make fewer mistakes and their energy levels are also boosted.
OPENNESS to communication: Children who meditate are more open to communication with others. They are accepting of different views and learn to listen and talk in harmony with others.
NURTURING relationships: Meditation can help children nurture caring and loving relationships. When children meditate, they become calmer and accepting. This makes them value the different types of relationships they have - with their parents, their siblings, etc.
The benefits of meditation on children and adults are well known. However, what is the best type of mediation for children? We take a look in this video.
The right age for children to start meditation:
One question that many parents face when the topic of meditation for children comes up is the ideal age for children to start. Children are naturally restive by nature and meditation requires sitting still in one place for long periods.
Ideally, children should be taught meditation when they are ready. There is no specific age for children to learn meditation. According to a blog post, Meditation & Age, published in Shivabalayogi teachings, children can start mediation at the age of five years where they can practise meditation for five to ten minutes.
If your child is not keen on meditation, it is advisable not to force him or her. After, all it has much to do with the mind as well as the body. If you force your child, he may end up resenting the practise and not enjoy it.
Note: In the beginning, you can start mediation as a fun activity. You can say it is a game where children must stay quiet for a few minutes and then the one who successfully does so, wins. This way, you can get children interested in mediation from an early age.
Apart from academics and art, imbibing the spirit of faith and prayer is also essential. Prayer helps comfort and relax children who are otherwise overloaded with performance-oriented activities. This article below explains how to teach your kids to pray and meditate.
Before you start meditation for your child, here are some basic tips:
- When you start meditation, try to keep the session short. Children are restless and need to practise patience.
- During meditation, your child should lie down on the back with his spine straight.
- Body temperature might drop during mediation. Keep a blanket in standby.
- The meditation place should be quiet and free from distractions.
Step-by-step ways for children to meditate:
Meditation is a powerful tool through which children can de-stress and achieve success in academics and other activities. Go through these step by step ways through which children can start meditating.
Focus on breathing:
Breath is the starting as well as finishing point for all types of meditation. Children can learn to notice the small things about breathing such as notice their breath, how the chest rises and falls along with the breath, etc.
Organise the meditation space:
The space where the child will meditate should be free from any distractions and noise. Parks and outdoor spaces are also suitable but for this purpose but convenient timings should be selected so that the child is not distracted. There should also be enough space available for meditation.
Use of external aid to help meditation:
On some occasions, the child can be provided with peaceful tracks that can be played on the background while the child is meditating.
Close the session with a discussion:
Once the session is complete, the child can sit back and reflect on the session and share his or her thoughts.
Meditation techniques you can teach children:
Scroll below for some meditation techniques that are simple yet beneficial and can be taught to children.
1) Lotus Breath: This technique helps to connect to one’s breath and feelings. Children can try to create a lotus flower by touching the pinkies and thumbs together. Following this, the child can imagine inhaling the scent of the flower and their feeling afterwards after smelling it.
This is important to help children connect to their innermost emotions and feelings, which enables them to connect to their feelings like pain, anger, and happiness.
2) Bear Breath: This is a great technique to help children focus when they are involved in different activities. This breathing technique involves breathing in through the nose for four counts, holding the breath for four counts and slowly releasing the breath through the nose for four counts.
3) Guided relaxation: This is a great technique for helping children who have trouble sleeping, are stressed, and sick. It is used to help ease tension. To do this, children should:
- Sit or lie down with eyes closed.
- Take a few deep breaths.
- Bring attention to the left foot by squeezing it by making a fist with the entire left foot and all five toes. Then they should squeeze it tightly and hold this for two breaths.
- Release all tension in the left foot and take a deep breath
- Move attention to the right foot.
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