©2020 Meditot, LLC.  Contact: angela@meditot.com                @MyMeditot 
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what are mindfulness and meditation? 

There are many definitions and opinions about the two concepts and the differences, but in the end, the most important thing to keep in mind is that both meditation and mindfulness are excellent tools to help you be more present and, ultimately, more relaxed.

 

Meditation often refers to the formal practice of sitting or laying down for a specific duration of time to focus on the breath or even on nothing at all. It can bring awareness to thoughts and help calm a busy mind while accessing the heart.

Guided meditation involves listening to an instructor or recording for assistance in relaxing and accessing states of meditation that may be more difficult with a self-directed meditation. For children, guided meditation can be an outstanding tool to unlock the imagination and bring awareness, comfort, resilience, and relaxation to the body and mind where stress, fear, and emotions may be hiding. Over time once a child is comfortable with sitting still and relaxing for at least a few minutes, traditional meditation can then be introduced, which could mean pausing for a couple minutes during a guided meditation to still the mind and focus on the breath. Ultimately traditional meditation can become its own practice for children.

 

Mindfulness is similar but is generally referred to as the informal practice of bringing awareness to one's thoughts, emotions, and reactions. Mindfulness can also be used to direct awareness to nature or another external object while keeping a pulse on one's internal responses and senses (how something smells, sounds, tastes, or feels). Good examples of mindfulness include walking in nature, eating mindfully, purposeful movement, and even mindful crafts to express emotions.

what are the benefits of mindfulness and meditation for children?

 

The great thing about mindfulness and meditation is that once you learn the basics, there is no equipment or membership plan needed. Both are affordable (free!)portable (your mind and heart are always with you), simple (learning the basics is not difficult, but it takes practice to cultivate skill), and flexible (mindfulness and meditation can be adapted to your schedule and needs)All you need is a quiet space and some patience. And with patience and practice, studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that children may receive a number of benefits, including: 

  • Improved focus and concentration

  • Improved learning

  • Increased patience

  • Reduced stress and anxiety

  • Release of negative thoughts and fears

  • Increased self-awareness and self-regulation

  • Improved ability to process emotions

  • Increased emotional intelligence

  • Increased confidence and self-esteem

  • Increased compassion and empathy

  • Better sleep

But don’t take it from me. Here are some recent, objective articles that highlight the potential benefits of teaching children to meditate from an early age.

 

  • "About - Research on Mindfulness". MindfulSchools.org.

  • “Just Breathe: The Importance of Meditation Breaks for Kids". HealthyChildren.org. April 19, 2017.

  • Murray, Lorraine E. 2012. Calm Kids: Help Children Relax with Mindful Activities. Edinburgh UK: Floris Books.

  • Murray, Lorraine E. 2014. Connected Kids: Help Kids with Special needs (and Autism) SHINE with Mindful, Heartfelt Activities. Connected Kids Ltd.

  • Walton, Alice G. “The Many Benefits of Meditation for Children”. Forbes.com.October 18, 2016. 

why should my child take a class rather than just listen to a meditation app?

 

We are so lucky to live in a time with quick and ready access to meditation resources like apps and videos. Meditation lessons should certainly not replace those resources, but classes can be an excellent way to introduce the concept of meditation and instill a healthy practice before apps and videos are used. Not all children are ready or willing to relax for an audio or video meditation session. A personal class can gently introduce them to the concepts of conscious deep breathing, mindfulness activities, intentional movements like yoga, and meditative focus through guided meditation.

 

Classes can be customized to meet the needs of the individual child, thus making the time spent more meaningful and beneficial. Once children see the benefit of meditation or even see it as fun (as mindfulness activities, kid's yoga, and guided meditations often can be!), they are much more likely to embrace it for long-term practice. Some children need only one class to take in the concepts, but most children could use several classes to build on what they’ve learned and learn different tools that work for them.

what if my child is too high-energy for meditation?

Great question... as we know every child has different interests and energy levels. Another good thing about meditation is that it can be customized to fit a child's needs, including creating a shorter meditation for high-energy children or using mindfulness walks, yoga, and other intentional movement exercises until practice is built up to start meditation in future sessions. Every class is developed through heart-centered meditation, meaning that every class is customized (using the preparation questionnaire), and classes can be adapted on the spot, as needed, based on responses from the child.

"Angela brings such a calming, loving energy to her time with children.  She teaches tools that can be used throughout a lifetime, and I am so grateful that she is working to introduce it to children early!  I would highly recommend her to help your children find quiet, calm and focus.  Thank you, Angela!"

                  ~ Lynn T, Denver Mom

"Angela provided instruction in meditation skills to my four-year-old daughter. She had a wonderful presence and formed an instant rapport with my daughter. Angela skillfully adapted mindfulness principles in a way that could be understood and appreciated by a young child. I highly recommend her!"

             ~ Ginette C, Denver Mom

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