Our lives appear to be moving faster than ever. We are in a constant state of information overload due to having a digital device constantly at our fingertips and access to around-the-clock news. We may have overbooked schedules and multiple commitments, and lack a healthy balance between work and downtime. It is common to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, tired, and stressed out. Similarly, children and teens are exposed to many sources of stimulation throughout the day, not limited to the computer, smartphone, and other electronic devices. They may also be involved in many social, academic, and extracurricular activities that keep them on the go and their minds constantly moving.
Children and teenagers often mirror the adults in their lives as they learn how to regulate their emotions and balance work, rest, and play. And just like adults, they may benefit from practicing mindfulness and being present to what is happening to them in the moment. One way for children and teenagers to become more mindful is to practice meditation.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice for calming one’s mind and body. Research has indicated that meditation can assist with improving concentration and focus, calming anxiety, and reducing impulsivity, among other benefits. Meditation takes time, commitment, and practice; it is not an exercise that should be applied only when your child is stressed out, worried, or lacking focus.
Meditation is a practice for calming one’s mind and body.
Types of Meditation for Children and Teens
Mindfulness meditation focuses on being in the present by bringing attention to the breath. By focusing on the breath, your child may observe his thoughts, sensations, and emotions, and become more in tune with his body and mind. Another focus during mindfulness meditation is to bring attention to a bodily sensation or sound.
Mantra meditation involves your child repeatedly focusing on a specific word or phrase, whether by repeating it silently in her mind, saying it out loud, whispering it, or listening to it. Om is one of the most basic and common mantras people use. Using a mantra allows your child to relax and focus on the word or phrase and avoid any distracting thoughts, memories, or sensations.
Lastly, guided meditation involves listening to a trained practitioner or teacher in person or via an audio recording. It may involve words, music, or both. There are many different types and purposes of guided meditation. Some guided meditations have a specific focus, such as improving sleep. Others have a more general purpose, like calming the mind. Guided meditations often describe specific images or invite your child to bring forth his own images.
There is no one best way to practice meditation, and not every method will appeal to your child or teenager. Try different styles of meditation and see what helps your child achieve the goals you’ve set together. Once he has found what helps him, incorporate it into his daily schedule and make it a regular practice.
In addition to exploring meditation as part of your child’s mindfulness practice, you can also incorporate yoga or breathing exercises. You can also find mindfulness books for children available from Magination Press.
Related Books from Magination Press
A World of Pausabilities: An Exercise in Mindfulness
Sometimes we just need to pause — to stop, breathe, and take a moment for ourselves. To be mindful. Told in rhyming verse and beautifully illustrated, A World of Pausabilities is an inviting introduction to mindfulness. Readers will learn how to apply mindfulness to simple, everyday moments, and how days are filled with endless possibilities to take a pause. Includes a Note to Parents and Caregivers that further discusses mindfulness and ways to introduce pauses into your child’s life.