Close your eyes. Take yourself to your happy place, somewhere relaxing and serene. Inhale, focusing on the rise of your chest. Exhale focusing on the hollow of your belly. Repeat for 10 breaths. Okay, wasn’t that calming? Like your anxieties floated away? Like all those petty stressors in life left your mind? So, why wouldn’t meditation have the same affect for children?
It does. Meditation can help teach children how to work through those big or negative emotions–healthily. Along with countless other mental health benefits, this simple technique can lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve memory and more. Emotional benefits of meditation include; increased self-awareness, decreased depression and reduced anxiety.
Multiple studies have linked improved mood, attitude and attention span with regular meditation. Teaching your children meditation is a sanity saver because you’re teaching your children how to work through their big emotions– aka their tantrums. Since focusing on your breath pulls you inward, leading to a detached observation of your thoughts and feelings it allows them to think before reacting. Giving them a moment to catch their breath.
So how the hell do you get your energizer bunny of a kid to sit still and meditate? Teach through example setting. You’re probably rolling your eyes right now; and I totally understand why. When it comes to teaching manors, life lessons, etc “you just need to set a good example” becomes a broken record. But it’s true! Children mimic the behavior, vocabulary and attitudes they’re frequently exposed to. It’s an annoying truth, I know.
However, there are tons of guided meditations tailored for toddlers, preteens, teens, yourself on youtube. You both can sit down and follow them whenever those big emotions are causing meltdowns. Making this a regular reaction to your child’s stress will help them associate meditation with calming down. Even just a couple deep breaths work wonders!
Eventually you’ll find your kid sitting down to meditate instead of screaming when they’re frustrated. Personally, it took us a good year or so for Luna to catch on. She still has her days like the rest of us. Lu just turned 3 so age could definitely factor into it. But what I’m getting at is try not use meditation as a cure-all-be-all. Especially with your children. Meditation is one of many tools you should have in your tool box of healthy coping mechanisms.
I’ll link a few of our favorite yoga routines, as well as some great resources for more information on meditation with children. Let me know if there are any other (s/crunchy) parenting topics you’d like me to talk about next! Hope y’all find this helpful and have a blessed day