10 simple meditation techniques for kids
Children always seem undisturbed and stress-free, but the truth is, they can feel just as much stress as we adults. Studies show that children in this generation are stressed more than ever.
Even at birth there is an abundance of technologies that overstimulate their senses – be it via television, mobile phones or with their complex “educational toys” that blink and make noises. As they grow up, children are bombarded with activities, mostly under pressure from friends, and constantly kept busy by their parents in a hurry. For the most part, having an active mind can help, but if you fail to recover from this stimulation overload, it can do unknown damage to the developing brain.
This is why it is important for our children to learn meditation and develop mindfulness – the ability to be aware of the present – even now. This helps us focus on our center and mentally acknowledge our emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations. Believe it or not, kids can too. Here are some fun and easy techniques you can use to get your kids started meditating.
10 The balloon
Breathing is the most basic way to relieve stress for adults and children alike. Conscious and meditative breathing gives us mental clarity and helps us to be present with our surroundings. To help your children with this technique, have them close their eyes and imagine a balloon in their tummy.
Ask them to fill this balloon through their noses in five counts. You can ask them to make large, circular arm movements that indicate the balloon is filled with air. Once you’ve inhaled deeply, take three steps to hold your breath, then slowly deflate through your nose. You can make hissing noises as the air releases from your balloon to better visualize the activity.
9 Candle Gazing Technique
Practicing gaze for children can improve attention and memorization. While it may seem impossible for young children, who are absolutely fidgety at all times, you can still do it with our magical tool – candles!
Light a candle stick in a dark room and let your child focus on the flame. Have them count every time the flame flickers. Reward them for every time they sit longer. You can also do this by deliberately and calmly letting your child focus on the flame while breathing deeply. In yoga practice this is called Trataka, which translated means “healing and cleaning of the eyes”.
8th Bell meditation
A ringing bell has always been an essential tool in meditation – especially for religious practices. Bells are said to be meditation enhancers as they promote a sense of peace and tranquility and make it easy for an individual to connect with themselves or with a higher being.
Try introducing the bell meditation to your children by asking them to explore its sound. Have your children sit high with their legs crossed and their eyes closed. Encourage them to listen carefully and raise their hands when the ringing stops. You can also help them explore their hearing senses by asking if you are close, far, or left or right when the doorbell rings.
7th Guided relaxation
This type of therapy, also known as the Jacobson relaxation technique, focuses on tensing and relaxing certain parts of the body so that we can become fully aware of our physical sensations. This was confirmed by Dr. Edmund Jacobson and has been used as relaxation therapy since the 1920s.
To make this easier for your children, make them sit or lie in the most comfortable position they can. Then have her close her eyes and reach the right foot. Have the children grip their five toes in their fists and squeeze them as you take two deep breaths. Tense up and relax. Mention to your children that they may feel a tingling sensation in their feet.
After doing both feet, the kids can move forward in various combinations such as the left and right ankle and calf, the left and right knee, or the left and right thigh. After this activity, give your children some rest to relax and encourage them to breathe slowly and evenly.
6th Cloud gazing
Have you ever tried to just stare blankly at the sky while your thoughts drift away like clouds? If you’ve done it, it’s good for you. Apparently it has a relaxing effect and can help us see our thoughts from a different perspective.
This activity is extremely easy for young children, although the downside is that they may no longer be able to sit. To do this, just look at the sky and let them notice how the clouds drift away and come in different shapes. It is also important to be in a comfortable position – whether sitting or lying flat on the floor. As always, breathing should be conscious and meditative.
While they let their thoughts drift away, you can also ask them what they are feeling in the moment. Do you feel happy or sad? Or it could be any feeling they wanted to express. In particular, this exercise is best facilitated when the children experience negative emotions.
5 Take a nature excursion
For all of its mind-boggling wonders, the way Mother Nature works is just fascinating. If you just take a look at the great outdoors, you will be amazed at how relaxed and calm you feel, and this has been scientifically proven time and again.
Studies show that exposure to nature can have positive effects on mental health. Take your children for a walk in the forest and let them consciously observe the wind, trees, flowers or the sea.
Grounding, or barefoot, is also a good mindfulness technique for children. All you have to do is bask in the warm sun, let the radiance flow into your body and feel the earth bond with your body. One study shows that “reconnecting with Earth’s electrons promotes fascinating physiological changes and subjective reports of wellbeing”.
4th Recite chants or mantras
Mantras are words or sounds that we recite over and over to build concentration while meditating. You may have heard a common chant, the “Om”, which is traditionally sung at the beginning and at the end of yoga. Interestingly, with correct singing it gives a frequency of 432 Hz – the same vibrational frequency for everything in the entire universe.
Expect your child may not immediately be able to find the right way to sing “om”, but there is no harm in trying. The correct pronunciation of the chant is elongated “awe”, elongated “oo” and elongated “mm”.
If chanting “om” isn’t your thing, try introducing motivational mantras like “I will be happy today”, “I love life and life loves me” to your child, or come up with something more personal yourself.
3 Take yoga classes
Yoga is a great exercise for the mind and body. Physically, it allows you to stretch and bend, thereby promoting muscle strength and flexibility. Mentally, it helps improve focus, coordination memory, and even depression, as a component of yoga is present-centered.
Take a yoga class for adults and children. Not only is this a healthy activity, it also strengthens your bond with your children. Yoga for children offers tremendous benefits as it promotes body awareness and connection with the inner self. It also helps children develop an intimate relationship with their surroundings.
2 Bedtime meditation
Bedtime meditation is one of the easiest techniques we can teach our children, and we might want to try it out ourselves! When toddlers refuse to get down or when a busy day is over, try simplifying this technique for better sleep.
First, maintain a quiet environment. Just leave the soft lights on and make sure the temperature isn’t too hot or too cold. If possible, play soft, soothing background music and diffuse age-appropriate aromatherapy. Encourage the children to do three deep breath repetitions in a row with their eyes closed. Relax and let her calmly fall asleep.
1 Light bath meditation
This activity is aimed at older children such as teenagers who are tense and exhausted with their daily chores or who may have had negative feelings in the past. Lichtbad is a guided meditation that helps one bring radiant energy, love and even forgiveness into our tense bodies.
Have the children sit tall, as comfortably as possible, or lie on their backs for relief. Instruct them to identify and feel which parts of the body are feeling most tense. To release that tension and include all of the negative energy you are feeling, let your inner peace feel and visualize it as a form of light moving over your body. Let the light wander and stay in the mind for a while, then move into parts of the body like eyes, mouth, ears, legs and heart.
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About the author
(9 articles published)
Mikaela has been a journalist and freelance writer for four years and has written mainly about parenting, entertainment, and politics. She is a young mom and the owner of an online children’s boutique in California. In her free time, she likes to shuffle in the kitchen and watch real crime documentaries.
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