Family life is the most beautiful thing in the world, but it can also get challenging and hectic. I am probably not the only parent who sometimes feels like there is a little alarm going off inside our head, telling us that there are too many things to do and making us feel like we are not concentrating on the moment enough. But it is not just us parents who can struggle sometimes. Our children too, can feel overwhelmed and suffer from the same issues sometimes. Many parents may notice their children feeling tense and easily distracted at times. So what can help when things get a bit stressful for us and for them?
study by Harvard scientist Sara Lazard have shown that meditation can create remarkable positive changes in our brains.
The Benefits of Meditation for Children
Meditation is not only good for adults, but also for your kids. Studies have shown that meditation for children helps kids to increase their attention, develop better mental health and even work through traumas. Meditation blocks distractions around children and encourages them to be happier with themselves and nicer towards others. Even to their parents ;)
In meditation, children are encouraged to focus all of their attention on one thing, for example an object or a sensation in their body. A sound, a taste or even a stone do the job. By focusing on something that is present in the now, their awareness of the moment grows, meaning that they can close their minds from mental noise and learn to concentrate better.
Although meditation is a journey to one's own body, the environment plays an important role too. With meditation for children, they develop social skills and learn to appreciate others more. So more communicating and less fighting :)
How to Start
Interested in giving it a try for yourself and your kids? At this point, you may still imagine your child sitting in a lotus position and making strange ommmm sounds. But even though meditation for children has the same goals and benefits as for adults, it is a much different and quite playful world.
The best place to start is with a meditation app for children or book that is designed to be fun and engaging for our little ones. There are plenty of interesting and motivating books and apps out there that can introduce meditation to you and your children.
For apps, one of my favorites is the “Mindfulness for Children” programme by Annaka Harris, which includes wonderful guided meditations for children of ages 6-10. She advises that younger kids might feel more comfortable listening to the app together with a parent. Annaka also has guided meditations and lessons for children inside the Waking Up App by Sam Harris, one of the best meditation tools for adults. For those who prefer to start with a free app, we are big fans of the meditation app for children Insight Timer, which comes in many different languages.
When it comes to meditation books for children, there are many wonderful stories that teach our children about the importance and beauty of mindfulness, encouraging them to pay more attention to what is around them. Your kids are sure to love the book “A World of Pausabilities”, which teaches them to take more conscious pauses in life, or “Breathe Life a Bear”, a collection of gorgeously illustrated exercises to teach them techniques for managing their bodies, breath, and emotions.
And of course we all know how much our little ones love watching videos and Youtube :) Maybe for a change, try turning on a kids meditation channel on Youtube, like the Meditation & Sleep Stories by New Horizon.
Let your children find their Inner harmony
Children Meditating in Schools
It might even be that in the future, meditation for children will be as natural in schools as math lessons. It has already been widely reported how introducing meditation to primary school classes improved the behavior and well-being of children.
One of the entrepreneurs supporting the teaching of meditation for kids in schools is Hollywood actress Goldie Hawn, who developed her program MindUP™ together with a number of scientists. With the Hawn Foundation, the MindUp program has so far impacted nearly 6 million children and trained over 150,000 teachers. Pretty impressive, I would say!
To sum it all up: in the best case, meditation provides our children with a lifetime tool for managing their mind and body, which they can later hand over to their own children.
Enjoy this moment!