Everyone is familiar with meditation and its many benefits, but lately, studies have suggested that calming our mind and learning to be present are skills we should be teaching our kids. There have been numerous studies published over the past 10 years that prove the benefits it has on children, from increasing their attention to improving their grades. According to Jessica Bartram, founder of KidsWhoMeditate.com, meditation teaches children to be calmer, less frustrated, and more focused. "Children who do this regularly will notice they are more tolerant and patient in frustrating situations," she told First for Women. "Their grades improve, they’re more creative and able to 'think outside the box,' and they’re able to regulate their emotions better than many of their peers."
With science backing up the hype, many parents want to jump on the bandwagon, too. But if getting your child, especially very young ones, to sit still with no TV or iPad seems like an impossible task, it doesn't have to be. In fact, it's a lot easier than you think. Below, six quick tips on how to easily introduce meditation to your kids without boring them.
Start off with easy guided meditation exercises.
Once you're ready to introduce meditation into your child's life, start off with a simple meditation that you do with your child before bed. Simply sit with them, play a short meditation, and then ask them how they feel afterward. If your child is being uncooperative, get creative. "If they don't want to close their eyes, have them focus on a spot on the wall," Jessica said. "If they don't want to sit down, let them lay down instead."
Make it fun!
If your child isn't old enough or calm enough to sit through a guided meditation, it's important to make the exercise seem like a game and not some burdensome task being forced on them. "In my programs, I tell parents to approach meditation as a fun tool and not a chore," Jessica said. "They have to enjoy it to benefit from it."
A good exercise to start off with is the "bubble" activity. Simply have your child sit up in bed and instruct them to take 10 deep breathes. "Children are very visual so you can get creative with this technique," Jessica said. "Ask them to imagine a bubble inside of their belly and every time they breathe in, the bubble gets bigger as their belly expands. As they exhale, the bubble gets smaller as their belly relaxes. You can even remind them to breath slow because 'fast movements will pop the bubble.'"
After 10 breaths, ask your child to repeat one sentence three times, such as, "I am relaxed and ready for a good night's sleep."