Meditation for Kids
Interested in introducing a child to meditation but not sure where to begin? We have a few thoughts and suggestions, along with some guided practices. You can check out our meditation CD for children, our free meditation for kids, and our meditation scripts for children.
At our center in Northern California, we have kids join us in our meditation groups sometimes, and it is always a joy to see a child show up and meditate. We’ve also spent time teaching mindfulness meditation for kids and young adults in the foster youth program and at local high schools. Although it may seem impossible at times to get kids (or adults) to sit still and practice, kids can indeed meditate!
Free Guided Meditation for Children
Here’s a free guided meditation for children. Try it below, or enter your email address for a free downloadable meditation.
Free Downloadable Meditation[/text_output][text_output]
There has been quite a bit of research in recent decades on meditation, and we are beginning to understand the benefits of meditation more deeply. However, much of this research has been conducted with adults. There are a few studies which have found benefits of meditation in children, while others find no benefit (read our recent post New Study Finds Mindfulness Training Shows Little Benefit in Adolescents). Here are a few benefits young people may notice from meditation practice.
Increase in Attention
Multiple studies have found mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based interventions to be beneficial in children with attention disorders like ADHD. One study in 2013 found that young men who practiced meditation with their parents showed decreased hyperactivity and increased on-task behavior. This was with two days of meditation a week over the course of eight weeks.
Better Mental Health
A 2010 study looked at meditation practice in children and found that it reduced anxiety and increased overall emotional resiliency. Many studies in adults have also found that mindfulness-based interventions can help reduce symptoms of depression and other mood disorders.
In a 2016 meta-analysis looked at the link between mindfulness and creativity in both children and adults. It found a significant correlation, with the correlation strengthening when the participants were practicing a form of open awareness meditation. This creativity can help children find their passions, solve problems, and engage their minds in new ways.
Attendance and Performance
A few San Francisco schools added time for meditation during their school days. One school found a 79% decrease in suspensions, a significant increase in attendance rates, and higher academic performance. Other studies in adults have found mindfulness to be an effective aid in reducing test anxiety and increasing performance in high-stress situations.
Social Skills and Development
Developing social skills and social responsibility is crucial in childhood years. A 2015 study investigated classic social responsibility programs and mindfulness-infused social responsibility programs. The students who took the mindfulness-based course showed greater empathy, emotional control, and ability to see other perspectives. They also exhibited lower cortisol (a stress hormone) levels in social interactions.
In children four to twelve years old, research has found that meditation can help improve executive function. In this study, children were more likely to act with consideration rather than out of impulse after taking a mindfulness-based meditation course.[/text_output][text_output][/text_output]