How to Teach Children to Meditate [The right way]

What's Covered

Parents or teachers need to consider the age in teaching meditation practice. An exercise should suit the age of a child. Should not force them to do things they would not want to follow to avoid unnecessary frustration for the children. The place should be quiet, comfortable, and no distractions. They should have a comfortable position. Give instructions in a slow and calm voice. Keep the session short as they have a short span of attention.

What is Meditation

Meditation is a powerful practice for children, a natural way for the body and mind to combat pressure in their modern living. Meditation is emptying the thought and becoming aware of the inner potential. It is paying attention to own behavior and those people around them.

Benefits of Meditation to Children

  • Enhance sleep quality
  • Increases focus
  • Helps Boost Physical & Emotional Health
  • Ability to focus and study
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Reduced levels of stress

What is the best meditation approach for children?

The approach will depend on the age of the child. Teens could stay longer and enjoy the practice. Toddlers or preschool has a short span of attention. They can get distracted easily. Parents should do the meditation consistently so that their children will see them as their models and will eventually make them get interested and voluntarily join the practice.[1] Meditation practice can be done during bedtime and the daytime.

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Let the child imagine happiness and loving-kindness spreading to everyone.[2] This exercise will give the child a better sleep, relax, and refresh the next day.

Should children be taught meditation at an early age?

You can teach meditation to children but do not push them. Meditation is not necessary for younger age though it can help develop their habits for later in life. It could be great if we can start to teach them at an early age to help them deal with stress and challenges.[3] May it comes from bullying, school, or life in general.

At what age can a child need to learn meditation?

The practice will depend on the level of maturity of the child

  • Between 5 and 8 years

It is difficult for this age to connect to their emotions. Give them simple visualization and stories, best done during bedtime.

  • Between 9 and 12 years

Kids of this age like to interact and imitate. They love responsibilities and initiate activities.

  • Between 13 and 15 years

Connecting to their emotions is easy for this age.

  • Between 15 and 18 years

 Late adolescents are naturally critical of anything.

Teach them to maintain a listening and caring attitude.

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How to teach preschoolers to meditate

To start with the meditation, take a deep breath and have them sit in a comfortable position, teach them to connect with their bodies, and allow them to perceive the advantages they will feel in practicing meditation.

How to teach elementary-age kids to meditate

Let them try and do one thing distinctive with their hands, like holding their thumb and ring finger together. It can let the brain retardate and calm down that will result in relax and focused mind.

How to teach meditation to teens?

Teenagers find this practice not associated with their busy lives. They have to envision that you are paying attention and handling the challenges skillfully to take them seriously. Allow them to perceive that this mindfulness practice will improve concentration, cut back the symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression, and students who meditate before taking the test to perform better than those who did not meditate.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment, lives at the moment without fear of something. Kids who are age five years and up can use this exercise. Mindfulness is often appropriate to those kids who have low self-esteem.[4]

Why should we teach mindfulness to kids?

It will allow the kids to learn to be aware of the present. Kids will learn to feel and understand emotions and develop concentration. It is a helpful tool for kids with difficulty in managing emotions.[5]

How to teach mindfulness to Children?

Parent or teacher needs to start this mindful practice with their own. Children will learn mindfulness practice eventually as they see you doing it in your daily lives. And they will look up to you as their model. Let the child understand the benefits they get from this practice. To start with mindfulness practice, your child should be in a comfortable space. Do a simple breathing exercise and let them focus on their senses.[6]

What are some simple techniques to teach and promote relaxation?

  1. Play calming and relaxing music throughout tests, quizzes, and independent periods. It permits the kids to focus on their tasks.
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It allows the child to focus on their task and at the same time enjoying their works while playing this on background.  Kids would surely love the music. It can also help babies to calm and go to sleep.
  • Teach yoga to kids as their daily exercise or warm-up time. It facilitates children to develop coordination, focus, and self-awareness. It may also reduce feelings of disappointment, anxiety, and depression.
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  • Facilitate children re-center before obtaining back to work. Flip the lights off and allow them to sit at their desk, eyes closed, and meditate.
  • Teach children to be mindful, to be present at the moment. Allow them to hear music, do activities like coloring, and practice breathing exercises. It allows children to promote happiness, attention, and emotional management.
  • Teach them to regulate their breathing. It will help control emotions and thoughts at the same time.

Meditation practices that is suitable for kids

Mindfulness- uses breathing exercise that allows the child to focus their minds and become aware of what is happening in the surrounding and paying attention to their feelings in the present situation or present moment.[7]

Guided Meditation- It is a meditation practice wherein a child will listen to sound recordings or from their parent’s guidance. It helps kids reduced their insomnia and anxiety.[8]

Mantra Meditation- It is a meditation practice wherein the kids will repeat words or phrases of what they heard. It allows kids to focus their minds and helps limit background distractions.[9]

Meditation apps for kids

Parents can also use Meditation apps for kids. It features different meditation practices that include guided audio meditations and stories to help kids fall asleep.

These are some of the meditation apps:

  • Headspace: This app includes guided sessions, breathing exercises, and visualization. Meditation themes include calm, focus, kindness, sleep, and wake up. It offers simple but powerful meditation techniques that positively impact every area of physical and mental health
  • Calm: It features series of sleep stories for kids. It also includes meditations, focus sessions, emotions series, and study breaks.
Calm Sounds-Meditation Sleep
Its soothing music and nature sounds helps relax child minds and relieves problems and daily life issues

•     Dreamy Kid: This app is suitable for children ages 3-17. It includes guided sessions, affirmations and self-esteem exercises, healing activities that get kids moving, and issue-based meditations.

  • Moshi: Audio only app that helps little one to fall asleep
Moshi: Sleep and Mindfulness
Easily keep track of your little one’s favorite content that help create calmer day times and quicker bedtimes. Very soothing & helps kids sleep better
  • Smiling minds: It offers school-based programs. It helps deal with the pressures and stress of everyday life.
  • Mindful Powers: It includes a series of voice-guided sessions and a self-set timer so kids can

focus on any given task.

•     Breath, think, do with Sesame: This app is suitable for 2 to 5 years. It encourages kids to problem solve, cultivate self-control, and learn planning skills.

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame
Your child will enjoy silly animations and playful interactions. It helps kids to easily recover from negative experiences

What is the length of time needed for a child to meditate?

  • Preschool: a few minutes per day
  • Grade school: three to ten minutes twice a day
  • Teens: Five to fifteen minutes per day or more based on preference

Is Meditation practice advisable for children?

Meditation practice has mental, physical, and spiritual benefits for children.[10] It helps children unplugged from their tired brain and stressful day. It improves the attention and behavior of a child. And can calm the nervous system and decreases stress hormones.

There are types of meditation practice that is suitable for children:

  • Concentration- its objective is to develop single-minded attention and develop the ability to remain calm, focused, and grounded.[11]
  • Cultivating positive emotion- Will help children develop independence, self-discipline, interpersonal skills, and emotional intelligence. It also allows children to understand the meaning of their relationship with others.[12]
  • Movement-based – This is an effective way to reduce stress and its physical consequences. It releases tension while at the same time creating a calm mind. This practice is ideal for energetic kids.[13]
  • Emptying- it can improve overall mood and ability to face a new challenge. This type of meditation practice is suitable for children or teens who encounter daily challenges and frustration of getting the problem solved.[14]

Teaching children meditation practice at home

There are key elements in teaching meditation practice to children:

  • Provide a conducive learning space to make sure the place is comfortable and far from distraction.
  • Prepare some essential learning materials. Make the meditation practice a daily routine can help build child self-awareness and motivation.
  • Keep the session short depends on the level of age. Younger age has a short span of attention.
  • Let them understand clearly the benefits they would get and allows them to choose what meditation practice they would prefer and set clear boundaries.
  • Help them set goals and reward them for showing efforts and progress.
  • To help them manage your child’s frustrations give them a simple calming strategy by taking a breathing exercise. Let your child describe the problem and express their feelings. And provide reassurance.[15]

Should school teach children mindfulness?

Some schools did some experimental research in giving mindfulness-meditation to children in school, and come up with the result of effectiveness in using the method. It promotes spiritual, psychological well-being and mental health. Mindfulness-meditation practice is proven to have a positive effect in reducing attention problems and reducing children’s internalizing problems.[16]

Benefits of teaching mindfulness-meditation in school

Mindfulness to children improves:

  • Focus
  • Planning and Organizing
  • Remembering details
  • Metacognition

Final Thoughts

Meditation practice is for everybody, even kids can benefit from it. It can be done anywhere and anytime of the day as long as when you feel you need to do it. Children don’t really need to do it at their very young age but if done earlier and consistently it provides a starting point for learning and creativity and help the child develop their habits for later in their life.[17]

[1] Fontana, David, and Ingrid Slack. Teaching meditation to children: The practical guide to the use and benefits of meditation techniques. Watkins Media Limited, 2012.

[2] Salzberg, Sharon. Lovingkindness: The revolutionary art of happiness. Shambhala Publications, 2002.

[3] van Leeuwen, Sara, Notger G. Müller, and Lucia Melloni. “Age effects on attentional blink performance in meditation.” Consciousness and cognition 18.3 (2009): 593-599.

[4] Jackmato, Monica M. “Teaching mindfulness to children.” Mindfulness-based Interventions with Children and Adolescents: Research and Practice (2020): 141.

[5] Durrant, Megan, and Sarah Hillsdon. “Category: F. Preschoolers.”

[6] Weare, Katherine. “Evidence for the impact of mindfulness on children and young people.” The mindfulness in schools project in association with mood disorders centre (2012).

[7] Weare, Katherine. “Evidence for the impact of mindfulness on children and young people.” The mindfulness in schools project in association with mood disorders centre (2012).

[8] Weydert, Joy A., et al. “Evaluation of guided imagery as treatment for recurrent abdominal pain in children: a randomized controlled trial.” BMC pediatrics 6.1 (2006): 1-10.

[9] Lynch, Julie, et al. “Mantra meditation for mental health in the general population: A systematic review.” European Journal of Integrative Medicine 23 (2018): 101-108.

[10] Vadnais, Emmy. “The power of meditation.” Adv Nurs 6.2 (2016): 22-23.

[11] Rozman, Deborah. Meditating with children: The art of concentration and centering. Planetary Publications, PO Box 66, Boulder Creek, CA 95006, 1994.

[12] Shapiro, Shauna L., Gary ER Schwartz, and Craig Santerre. “Meditation and positive psychology.” Handbook of positive psychology 2 (2002): 632-645.

[13] Schmalzl, Laura, Mardi A. Crane-Godreau, and Peter Payne. “Movement-based embodied contemplative practices: definitions and paradigms.” Frontiers in human neuroscience 8 (2014): 205.

[14] Champeaux-Cunin, Marie, and Dominique Butet. The Magic of Meditation: Stories and Practices to Develop Gratitude and Empathy with Your Child. Shambhala Publications, 2018.

[15] Hanh, Thich Nhat. Making space: Creating a home meditation practice. Parallax Press, 2011.

[16] Crescentini, Cristiano, et al. “Mindfulness-oriented meditation for primary school children: Effects on attention and psychological well-being.” Frontiers in psychology 7 (2016): 805.

[17] Fisher, Robert. “Still thinking: The case for meditation with children.” Thinking skills and creativity 1.2 (2006): 146-151.

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Diana Lucas

Diana Lucas

Hi, Diana here. Welcome to my blog and hope you like my sharing. I am a mother of 2 boys, 3 years old and a 1 year old. I dedicate my career in child development research and I focus on parenting tips, positive parenting, educational toys for my babies. Your time here means a lot to me! Diana A. Lucas