People around the world are discovering the potential benefits of meditation and mindfulness for children. From improved focus to reduced anxiety to increased self-awareness and self-esteem (visit www.meditot.com/faqs for information on potential benefits and sources), parents and teachers are sharing success stories that are inspiring others to give it a shot. But, one or two meditation sessions likely won’t have an impact worthy of inspirational stories. Establishing a regular meditation practice is key to seeing sustainable, effective results for children of all ages. Starting a regular practice for any activity can be challenging, but like any other habit, it is worth the investment in time, money, and patience.
Here are five ways you can help your child successfully build a meditation routine.
1. Create a dedicated meditation space
Meditation— particularly guided meditation— can be fun for kids, especially when they feel empowered to use their imaginations. Creating a dedicated space in your home for a few minutes of daily meditation can make that time feel special and fun. Let your kids decorate their own space with comfortable or familiar items like pillows, blankets, relaxing pictures, soothing toys, and maybe even some age-appropriate LED candles. It doesn’t need to be elaborate. Even just setting a pillow in the corner of the room offers a space from which to start a practice.
2. Select a dedicated meditation time
The fruits of a practice like meditation will likely be experienced over a period of time, and finding a regular time slot in the day to sit and meditate can greatly improve the chances of maintaining a consistent practice. Waking up with meditation can calm the nerves and lay the groundwork for a calmer school day. Morning practice can even be used to visualize a positive day. Ending the day with meditation can be a good way to reflect on the day and unwind. Whatever time is chosen, it’s important to be consistent.
3. Get creative with practice time
Having fun with imagination doesn’t have to only happen during the meditation; it can also be part of the meditation planning process. Taking time to brainstorm fun meditation ideas with kids can be a great way to get them invested in the practice. Ideas can pertain to new ways to meditate, like changing positions or trying a meditation app, adding a scented candle, using a sound bowl, starting with yoga poses and deep breathing, and more.
4. Share your experience after you finish
One of the best ways to have fun with meditation is to take a few minutes afterwards to invite your kids to share their experiences. What did they think about? Did any new ideas surface? Do they feel calmer or more energized? It can even be fun to draw pictures about the experience and then hang those in the dedicated meditation space.
5. Offer a reward for finishing the daily practice
Rewarding a healthy behavior such as meditation can reinforce the importance of nurturing mental and emotional well-being. Rewards should encourage healthy behavior such as allowing an extra few minutes of time outside to play before dinner or an extra few minutes of reading before bedtime. A week or month of straight practice could bring a trip to the children’s museum or the opportunity to throw a mindfulness party with all your kids’ friends (visit www.meditot.com/classes to learn more about booking a mindfulness party!).
The following articles regarding establishing a meditation practice may also be of interest to those seeking more information:
Babauta, Leo. “How to Meditate Daily.” Zenhabits.net. April 9, 2012.
Feloni, Richard. “How to Start Meditating and Make It Part of Your Daily Routine.” Inc.com. January 16, 2018.
Shardlow, Giselle. “Invite Calm by Creating a Morning Ritual” Kidsyogastories.com. January 20, 2015.