When your life is hectic and fast-paced, finding time to check in with yourself for a bit of mindfulness can feel like a luxury. It’s a valuable investment of time, however, as meditation has been scientifically linked with reduced stress, anxiety, and anger as well as a sense of calm and peace — and the benefits aren’t just for adults.
When our kids meditate, they access a unique set of benefits that can enhance their cognitive growth and improve their academic lives and performance. Some of these include:
- Self-esteem boosts, which a study on meditation education in Melbourne Catholic schools revealed to be a result of participation (source)
- Enhanced ability to handle acute crisis situations, which a meta-analysis on meditation benefits has linked with the stress-reducing capacity of the practise.
- Symptom improvements in children with ADHD, including better focus, sleep patterns, and relationship qualities, as demonstrated by both a study of Sahaja yoga meditation as an ADHD treatment method and a meta-analysis of meditation’s potential as a behavioral health intervention. (source)
As a free, self-powered toolkit for emotional wellness, meditation can’t be beat. However, simply sitting down and “clearing your mind” can be challenging for someone of any age!
Newcomers to meditation, especially kids, may find that the following tips help them access these benefits without the added stress of feeling like they’re “doing it wrong”.
- Guided meditations are tremendously helpful for beginners, and they’re available all over the web. Some are free, while others are attached to pay services; look for kid-appropriate guided meditations without a startup cost, which will let them get their feet wet without setting you back any money.
- There’s a common misconception that the purpose of meditation is to turn off your brain entirely — this is next to impossible! Instead, thoughts must be allowed to occur and pass without dwelling. (This does take time, and guided meditations can help if you’re struggling.)
Finding a quiet space that’s peaceful and free of distraction is ideal. A good pair of noise-cancelling earbuds, like this set from QuietOn, can block out environmental noise while also streaming calming music, nature sounds, or a guided meditation of their choice.