We all want our children to live happy and healthy lives, however in today’s society children exhibit elevated levels of restlessness, stress and anxiety.
Giving your child gentle encouragement to practice mindfulness & meditation can increase their emotional intelligence, positive outlook on life, and their ability to regulate oneself. Kids develop better organisation skills and learn to be more present and less judgmental, responding rather than reacting to their life events. They feel better, learn better, and sleep better.
BENEFITS OF KIDS MEDITATION
Enhanced Focus & School Performance
In just a generation or two, things have changed so much that our attention spans can’t keep up. Between social media and technological gadgets, kids – and adults – are constantly surfing the internet, interacting via social media and playing video games indoors instead of reading a book, taking a walk or playing sports. Children who grow up with their noses in their devices often find it difficult to focus and remain attentive. Meditation teaches them that it’s possible to direct their attention at one thing at a time, and that it actually feels great not to be distracted.
Fostering Compassion and Self-esteem
Due to pressures and circumstances beyond their control (and sometimes beyond anyone’s control), kids may sometimes feel like they’re not able to escape. This can be tough sometimes, especially when a child is bullied or badly teased by others. Most of the insecurities people have as adults can be traced back to their childhoods. The good news is that meditation can help children’s feelings of security, empathy and inner stability, and this, in turn, builds compassion, joy and self-esteem. Meditation teaches kids – and adults – that right now is enough.
Mindfulness for children helps kids gain self-awareness and become more confident. The confidence develops naturally when kids learn from their meditation practice that they don’t have to react to all of their thoughts and emotions – they can choose which ones merit their attention and response. Confident kids are better equipped to deal with unfamiliar situations. Thanks to this adaptability, they become better problem solvers and develop a deeper appreciation of life.
Building Empathy and Happiness
Mindworks meditation expert Trungram Gyalwa says that the more you give to those around you, the more you gain. Children’s meditation helps them learn how to share their love with other children. They become more patient and understanding, listen more readily to others and empathize with them.
Some schools are now replacing detention with meditation class for kids, An American school had done so with no suspensions throughout the entire year, after the meditation room was installed. A school that had the highest rates of gunfire, fighting, and suspensions in San Francisco integrated “quiet time” into the curriculum, and saw suspension rates drop by 45%, attendance rise, and grades improve significantly.
A study done at the National Therapies Research Unit at the Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney, where children who were taught to meditate improved attention spans markedly, and either reduced or stopped their medication completely.
According to Beyond Blue, it’s estimated that around one in seven kids experience mental health difﬁculties and about half of all serious mental health problems in adulthood begin before the age of 14. There is also an estimate that, between 2003 and 2012, over two million kids in the US were diagnosed with ADHD—and for most of them the problem started before the age of six.
Improved Psychological Well-Being
Kids who practice mindfulness will experience fewer psychological complexes such as fearfulness, social withdrawal and anxiety.
MINDFULNESS & MEDITATION APPS FOR KIDS
The apps we have selected have been created specifically for child development and are not only a great tool for parents to use but also teachers and other family members.
Handy hint: Ask your brother or sister to download one of these apps so that next time your child asks them to use their phone (Mine always do this! That and searching through my sister’s handbag) Us parents then don’t have to worry about them getting into that app that asks users to swipe right!
Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame
Sesame Streets – Breath, think, do is great for the mini-mediators who’ll love helping the monster calm down. Choose from five scenarios that tackle everyday problems and help the monster problem-solve and breathe deeply.
Age range: 2-5
The Australian Smiling Mind app was developed by a team of psychologists with expertise in youth and adolescent therapy, mindfulness meditation and web-based wellness programs. It’s great to hear an Aussie voice and the guided meditations are short, which is perfect for little people’s limited attention spans.
Ages: Programs for 7-11, 12-15 and 16-22
Sleep Meditations for Kids by Christiane Kerr
Christiane Kerr is a British yoga teacher and Montessori teacher who’s created story meditations to help kids with sleep issues, insomnia, stress, anxiety and with feelings of confidence and well-being. At 13 minutes, the free sleep meditation is great but a little long for kids younger than 6 years old
Cost: 1 free sleep meditation. Further meditations approx. $5 each
Headspace for Kids
Andy Puddicombe, the ex-Buddhist monk turn meditation pioneer who launched the global meditation phenomenon, Headspace. The kids’ version of the app is new and is only available through the adult subscription, but the meditations are grouped according to age and run for between 1 and 9 minutes. With topics like calm, bedtime and kindness, they’re great, but cost a bit, so it’s probably not worth purchasing a subscription unless you are interested in also giving it a go.
Ages: Programs for 5 and under, 6-8, and 9-12
Cost: Yearly subscriptions for around $8 a month
Meditations for Kids by Highly Meditated
Meditations for Kids includes 10 short themed meditations (plus an introduction to parents) as well as six relaxing environmental sounds/music pieces. The meditations use guided imagery to help children learn to manage worry and anxiety, everyday stress, fidgeting, calmness and fear of the dark.
Ages: Most suitable for children aged 6+ years.
Cost: Currently $1.49AU.
Wellbeyond Meditation for Kids
This app includes short themed meditations based on focus, feelings, kindness and sleep.
Stop, Breathe & Think Kids
This app includes a series of short, video meditation “missions” within seven categories – quiet, focus, caring and connecting, energising, meltdown, open mind, and sleep.
Ages: For kids 5+
Super Stretch Yoga
Includes a more physical element than the other apps featured here. Integrating visual images of children doing a series of 12 simple yoga poses, it helps younger children to stretch their bodies, rest their minds and focus in their breathing.
Ages: For ages 4+