What are the Benefits of Meditation for Kids?
We often think that kids have an easy life and nothing to worry about, but that is not the case.
What Causes Children to Stress?
Daily life in today’s world is moving faster than ever, which causes us to have little downtime and a lot of stress. A national survey found that 91 percent of Americans over the age of 18 reported being stressed by something in March of 2013, while 77 percent stated that they are stressed on a regular basis. In fact, anxiety is the most common mental illness in the US, affecting about 40 million people over 18.
While adults can have serious issues to worry about, such as finances or relationship troubles, children in the US are also dealing with anxiety. In fact, about one in eight American children deal with anxiety.
We often think that kids have an easy life and nothing to worry about, but that is not the case. Children can worry about many things; some of this is normal age-related stress, but some worries turn into regular anxiety.
NHS Choices provides reasons that can cause kids to worry. Separation anxiety is common in babies who are eight months old to kids around three years old. Little ones can cry and scream when a parent or caregiver leaves them, but this usually stops by the time kids turn three.
Children can develop fears about the dark, bugs, ghosts, heights, etc., as they age. High demands in preschool or school can also create stress in little kids.
While most of these fears and worries stop with age or with time, some kids deal with anxiety constantly. This can become a debilitating problem that gets in the way of daily activities, such as school, playdates or sleeping.
How Can Meditation Help Eliminate Stress?
Many parents are looking for alternative practices to help their children beat stress.
There are useful meditation techniques for stress that both adults and kids can do. Meditation for beginners is easy to understand and implement for parents who have no experience with this practice. Meditation for children can really help them calm and gain control over their bodies and minds.
Mindfulness — the focused awareness on the present moment, generally cultivated through a meditation practice — can help to curb kids’ impulsivity, and research has also shown school mindfulness programs to be effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety among adolescents. A study by Health Psychology magazine found that mindful meditation actually lowered the amount of cortisol, the hormone that regulates stress levels, in the body.
Other than calming the mind and reducing signs of physical stress from the body, there are many other benefits of meditation for children. From improving sleep to improving the signs of ADHD (attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder), to nurturing a sense of compassion and a better emotional stress, this practice has many positives for both kids and adults alike.
What is Meditation for Children?
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years by people all over the world. Records seem to indicate that it started from Hindus living in India, and spread from country to country as different cultures and religions incorporated it as part of their rituals.
In ancient times, people learned how to meditate to better comprehend life’s mystic and sacred features. However, today, meditation is more commonly practiced as a way of relaxing and reducing stress.
There are three most popular types of meditation; guided meditation for children involves a teacher or a guide using visualization (images) techniques to help kids imagine relaxing places and events, such as the beach. Utilizing these images, in addition to smells, textures and sounds, can help children learn about meditation. Mindfulness meditation teaches children how to be mindful and focuses on being aware and present in the moment. By focusing on breathing and observing emotions and thoughts during meditation, kids can become more in tune with their bodies and minds.
During mantra meditation, children are taught to repeat a word or phrase that not only helps them to relax, but allows them to focus on the word and avoid thoughts that can distract them.
How is Meditation for Kids Done?
Learning how to meditate is not difficult, and the best part is that anyone can meditate anywhere (inside or outside), at any time, for any period of time without any equipment. Children can practice meditation for ten minutes before school, 15 minutes after school, or any time they feel overly stressed.
Whether using guided meditation for kids or teaching children how to practice meditation on their own, they should find a quiet place that will limit distractions. Meditation for beginners should focus on trying to eliminate distracting thoughts.
How Can I Encourage My Kids to Meditate?
To encourage your children to meditate, model by example! Learn easy meditations for beginners and do them with your kids. Purchase or stream mediation videos online so that your kids can see others practicing it, and model their behavior. Find meditation classes for kids near you so your little ones can learn to meditate with their peers. Make meditating fun by incorporating Meddy Teddy into the mix.