I was lucky enough to have parents who encouraged me to practice meditation from a young age. We would do it together as a family and I have many nice memories of this. It totally set me up for my adult life and I knew where to turn to when the storms of life hit.
Why Kids Need to Meditate
Unfortunately, kids are experiencing stress and anxiety at a younger age. Many parents who attend our classes express how their 6 or 7 yo is suffering from anxiety. This is a very sad situation.
Kids are under a lot more pressure these days and are subjected to a lot more digital stimulation, which research is showing to have long-term harmful effects. These effects include social engagement, concentration, emotional responses and so on.
A friend of ours runs retreats in India. He said that when kids come on the retreats, the first two days they are very emotional and sometimes manic because there is no digital stimulation there. It is like a digital detox for them. After those two days, the kids settle down and it’s like they get back into their natural rhythm and are calmer. Not only that, they find it easier to be alone and to do nothing.
Just as much as adults need some digital space, kids definitely need time away from devices and external stimulation. This gives them a chance to connect inward and experience some peace and calm in their life.
How Meditation Helps
Meditation is the perfect way to facilitate this. It adds simplicity to their life and they feel refreshed by doing it. Simplicity leads to creativity as the mind chatter quietens and allows insights to come to light. Kids love meditation and are naturally drawn to it. It gives them an opportunity to bring them back down to earth and experience being calm. Kids also feel they have really achieved something when they are able to focus or perform a quiet activity.
We teach a yoga breathing technique called ‘balloon breathing’. It is a very simple technique and we encourage the kids to practice this especially when they feel anger arising in their minds. In one experience, a girl got real angry at one of the other kids in her class, but before it escalated she automatically went into her balloon breathing. When asked how it felt afterwards she said it felt really nice and her anger went away.
Meditation also helps to add to routine. Home lives can be really high energy and crazy at times, so meditation will promote an inner sanctuary. From this place, they will build on emotional resilience especially when faced with anxiety, stress, anger, envy and so on. It will give them the inner strength to face whatever situations they come up against.
Meditate as a Family
There is a need for families to participate in meditation together. Parents can lead by example and add some meditation to their daily lives. Not only will they benefit from the practice, but the kids will notice the difference and will want to be part of the experience. It can be difficult to get everyone on board with practicing meditation in the beginning, but persevere, it will pay off in the long run.
I highly encourage each parent to consider this to help your child with their overall wellbeing and help them to discover deep, lasting inner happiness. Not only will you help your child, but you will actually help yourself and your whole family unit.
We hold regular meditation classes and courses, which kids are welcome to attend. Alternatively, parents and caregivers can come along and practice them at home with the family.