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Teach your kid to meditate

Tips for toddlers, preschoolers, elementary-age, tweens, and teens

Teach your kid of any age to meditate

There’s a lot of advice out there on what to feed your kids, and especially during the pandemic. There are tips galore on how to keep them physically active.

Although it gets less attention, your child’s mental wellbeing is at least as important, if not more so. The folks at healthline strongly advise meditation as a way of helping youngsters de-stress. If you think your child is either too young or too old to learn this ancient relaxation technique, think again.

Healthline defines meditation as “a mind-body practice that can initiate moments of calm, bring about self-awareness and allow people to stay connected with themselves. “

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “the focus is on the interaction between the brain, mind, body, and behavior, with the goal of moving into a peaceful and energized state of mind.”

Meditation offers multiple benefits for kids. Childhood emotions can be very intense, and meditation can help your child manage them therapeutically. In addition to learning constructive coping skills, meditation can help sleep, attention, self-regulation, focus, retention of information, creativity, mood, managing stress, and overall wellbeing.

READ MORE: How to teach children lovingkindness meditation?

One of the great things about meditation is that it’s free. The only things you or your kids need are a quiet location, comfortable body position such as sitting, lying down, or walking, focus of attention, and an open attitude.

According to Sarah Roffe, co-founder and psychotherapist at Kind Minds Therapy, meditation looks very different for kids and adults. She says, “Adults have more patience, ability for self-reflection, and can stay focused for longer periods of time.” She advises starting with smaller chunks of time – like 5 minutes – and adding as children develop patience.

Laura Vogel, PhD, a licensed psychologist and director of therapeutic services at Momentous Institute agrees. “Initially, children won’t understand why they are meditating; therefore, we need to introduce the practice in a fun, engaging way, which may involve toys, stories, or movement.”

For toddlers and preschoolers, these experts remind us that little ones love to imitate, so instructing them to copy you works well. And explain to them why you all are doing it.

For elementary-age kids, they advise incorporating hand movements – like holding the forefinger and thumb together – and using the Insight Timer app. 

Teens can employ the “safe place journey” method, which uses all their senses. The steps:

  1. Identify a safe place.

  2. Notice what you see. What textures, colors, and objects are in the space?

  3. Notice what you feel, for example, is there a soft pillow or cold sand?

  4. Notice the smell. Is it sweet, savory, or familiar?

The benefits of meditation are life long, no matter what age you and your child begin.

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