5 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Meditation
Kids of all ages can learn to meditate and, in turn, be more mindful. Kids who meditate reap the rewards of increased patience, better coping skills, and improved focus. But how do we teach kids to sit still and be quiet? Believe it or not, it can be done. Here’s what we uncovered about meditation for kids:
Try a Meditation App
Kids’ love for technology is one of the reasons they need meditation. But you can use their favorite pastime as a way to teach them how to meditate. The app Headspace allows parents to set an alert for the optimal time of day for their child to meditate and then a man with a soothing voice and British accent walks them through the steps. The key? Choosing a time span that is right for your child –as short as three minutes. We also like Stop, Breathe and Think Kids and Wellbeyond Meditation for Kids.
Try a Meditation Book
Parents can learn about meditation and mindfulness through books –then, teach the strategies to their kids. 10 Mindful Minutes by actress Goldie Hawn (who is also the face and voice behind the Mindup curriculum used in schools all over the world) helps parents apply mindfulness techniques to everyday moments with their kids. We also like Mindfulness for Kids: 30 Fun Activities to Stay Calm, Happy and in Control. In this book, the authors use common examples like “Emma lost her phone” or “Bobby broke the mirror” to show how kids can use strategies to handle the situations and stay calm.
Not only do kids like the challenge of holding yoga poses (the cute names like “down dog” and “tree pose” help), but the practice naturally helps them to meditate. If you’re not a yogi, check out some of the kids’ classes around town. Grey Owl Mind and Body Studio in Johns Creek, for instance, has a class for 5-7 year olds called “Welcome to the Jungle.” The class focuses on a different animal each week, and helps the kids mimic the animal’s movements, gain balance, focus, and develop coping skills. Kids, tweens, and teens can try “Grounded Kids” at Stillness Yoga and Meditation Center in Marietta. Find more kids yoga studios around town here.
Make Breathing Fun
Sure, you could tell your kids to take a deep breath in and then exhale, but that might get old pretty fast. Try this tip from Yogiapproved.com: Have your child lie on their back and put a stuffed animal on their tummy. Tell them to watch the rise and fall of the stuffed animal as they breathe in and out. They can control their breathing by making the stuffed animal “slow down.” You can also teach deep breathing by having the child pretend to blow out a dandelion or blow out birthday candles.
Try a Meditation Podcast
If the optimal time for kids to meditate is in the car, check out podcasts on the subject. A quick search of “meditation for kids” brings up kid-centered, and most importantly short, meditation sessions. Try listening to “Guided Meditation for Kids” and “Peace Out: Relaxation and Mindfulness Stories for Kids.” You will also find podcasts that focus on bedtime meditations for kids, which of course help kids learn mindfulness and as a bonus, calm them at bedtime.