Teaching Children Meditation for Relaxation and Cognitive Growth – suggested methods for teaching children meditation, quiet time or solitude. By encouraging children to spend some quiet time each day or even a form of meditation, it is said that you are providing them with skills to grow and manage stress.
It is a healthy option to get away from the electronics (tablet, computer, smartphone, TV…) and work the brain in a different way. Children are inundated and bombarded with media and technology every day. Teaching children meditation and quiet time is necessary for relaxation and peace in addition to cognitive growth.
Our church holds a family style catechism program one day/month. Our last session had an interesting discussion topic of setting aside time for kids to spend in “quiet.” They called it spiritual discipline.
I want to respect everyone’s views and beliefs by saying that I think this applies to everyone, regardless of religious preference. I’m going to try and present this from a non-religious format because the benefits are there regardless.
An occasional moment of solitude can be a great way to build calm and coping techniques. It is suggested to do 15-30 minutes, 2-7 days per week (or as needed). Solitude teaches children how to slow the reactive nature of the mind, and pay attention to their inner feelings and longings. How often do we get to sit back and just think or process our own thoughts? It seems a majority of the day is consumed with being bombarded by input from gadgets, street noise, TV… Over time, solitude discipline or even a form of meditation will help children to work skillfully with overwhelming feelings and passion.
TEACHING CHILDREN MEDITATION TIPS
Here are some suggested methods for teaching children quiet time, meditation or solitude: Turn off all the electronics and create a general sense of quiet and reverence. Light candles if you’d like, and encourage kids to read a guidance book, write in their journals, or practice some form of reflective thoughts or meditation. Really little ones may need one-on-one time from a parent, reading quietly to them, or guiding them through meditation.
Teach children to close their eyes, breathe deeply, and imagine a beautiful place. Have them listen to their own thoughts. Have them visualize themselves conquering a situation that has been troubling them. This is a form of basic meditation for children that will teach children how to manage stress and relax on their own. Once mediation and relaxation is taught, encourage children to practice it on their own whenever they notice themselves feeling anxious. Teaching children meditation, solitude and quiet time can be crucial to a child realizing that they do have control over even the strongest of emotions or anxiousness.
When introducing the concept of solitude/spiritual discipline/mediation to your child, be sure to represent the idea with a sense of joy. Times of solitude can be associated with family fun (e.g. family movie night), or can be ended with a special snack, etc. This will help the kids get excited about the moments of solitude and meditation.
Children really need this time to let their brains have a rest. They are taking in so much on a daily basis and need to be taught how to clear their heads and process everything, resulting in a greater passion and enthusiasm in life. And, parents should take note and try it as well!
Source – Timothy F. Hogan, Psy.D. PLLC; Originally posted in 2014 for Oakland County Moms.
For more info on teaching children meditation, visit your local Yoga studio to see if they offer Yoga for children.