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Can kids benefit from meditation? The answer is, YES-immensely! Let's find out the the top 5 benefits of meditation for kids in this quick read!
16th January 2022
Meditation can be seen as the most fundamental life skill that can improve performance in most areas of life, including school, sports, arts and social interaction. Positive qualities that can develop as a result of a meditation practice include empathy, kindness, well-being, generosity and compassion.
At this point I would like to touch upon the importance of patterns in our lives and how they start. When we are born, we are like a plain sheet of paper. Gradually, moment by moment, we gather things from our environment through our five senses. When we observe anything long enough, it gets deep rooted in us and becomes our belief or pattern.
Up to the age of seven or eight years, we are only observing and gathering. That’s why these years are very important in anybody’s life span. We are literally writing on that plain sheet of paper the beliefs or patterns that we are going to live by. These beliefs and patterns stay with us till we make a conscious effort to change them later in life, which is a tedious process. So it is critical that we pay close attention to what we expose our children to during these formative years.
If, during this period, we can instil the practice of meditation in our children, it will always be with them. Consciously or unconsciously, they will naturally then benefit from the various advantages of meditation throughout their lives. Just like any other learning, planting seeds of meditation in kids at an early age will help them throughout their lifespan and they will be able to apply it in a way that is meaningful to them.
Since they are very keenly observing and absorbing every single minute detail from their surroundings, we urge parents and educators to incorporate meditation in their lives too. When children see the people they love and the people they look up to do certain things, they are absolutely going to mirror those things in their lives too. And it is not tough at all. All that is really needed is 10-15 minutes each day. What’s even more wonderful is that these practices also improve our lives!
Because meditation can promote skills that are controlled in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, like the ability to focus and concentrate, it is especially extremely useful for children.
Fundamental principles of neuroscience suggest that meditation can have its greatest impact on cognition when the brain is in its earliest stages of development.
For these reasons, meditation has an immediate intuitive appeal in a world that’s more distracting and fast-moving than ever before.
Now, let’s look at research backed top 5 benefits of meditation-
1. ENHANCE FOCUS & CONCENTRATION
In a world dominated by tablets and smartphones, distractions are more common than ever before. Our four year olds are more capable of operating our phones and devices than us! With this “Youtube” generation, it has been observed that children are losing general focus. They hop from one app to another, one video to the next (as it looks more enticing) and are always “scrolling down” to check what else is available. This whole activity of scrolling down constantly is very detrimental for building focus. Just imagine how damaging it can be for them.
That’s why teaching meditation to our young ones is very important. While it is practically impossible to cut them off from these, we can certainly instil in them the habits that will help them for life. A few minutes of meditation every day in the early years will help them retain the focusing abilities they were born with.
Refined concentration skills, in turn, translate to improved performance. It helps children do better in sports, school or arts, or any field that they choose. We always do better when we’re able to pay attention to what we’re doing. Mindfulness practices help children increase their attention span.
2. IMPROVE IMPULSE CONTROL
Meditation practice helps children deal with tough emotions and improve impulse control. It replaces impulsive reactions with thoughtful responses. Without meditation the children (in fact, we all) tend to be reactive, whereas with the techniques gained through meditation, they can respond in a balanced, rational way. Ultimately children can learn to steady themselves under sympathetic arousal to access cognitive skills. Meditation gives children the tools to focus their minds, calm down and reflect on a situation when they need to make a choice. Instilled at an early age, they naturally choose a response based behaviour over a reaction based one.
3. TEACH THEM TO STAY CALM
Meditation creates good habits for the future. When faced with life’s challenges, they know they can find peace by taking a few moments to meditate. Practiced from a very young age, they know that can take a few deep breaths to be calm and take control of overwhelming emotions.
4. PROMOTE HAPPINESS
Meditation helps in lowering stress, and thereby promoting happiness. With a meditation practice, the children can create space between the things that happen and how they react to them. They respond in a more balanced way, without hurting their own feelings or the feelings of others.
5. PROMOTE PATIENCE
In this time of instant gratification, children expect everything to come to them instantly, just like it does on the smart phones that they are used to using. but, unfortunately, in real life things don't happen that fast. You would constantly hear them saying 'I'm so bored!'. This can have negative effects on their mental health.
With meditation, children learn how to delay gratification, and are therefore, more patient. This is truly an amazing virtue to possess in today's times, as it helps them maintain a good mental health as well as succeed in life.
Meditation techniques are used by some of the world’s most successful athletes, musicians and other individuals who have to perform under extreme pressure. Students today are increasingly placed into high-stakes environments, and meditation practice can help them in multiple ways. Some areas that students can improve by practicing meditation are Test taking, Public speaking, Sports, Music, Peer interactions and Family life.
That’s why it is important for parents and educators to provide age-appropriate meditation practices for children. For example, planting meditation in our little ones through tools like fun activities, stories, simple movements, and music, can help them develop an ability to focus attention at a great level throughout their lives.
Children of all ages can benefit from meditation. It can help parents and teachers, too, by promoting happiness and relieving stress.
Bodhishishu’s programs offer effective tips for children and adults as well, several activities and practices that develop compassion, focus, curiosity and empathy.
Finally, let’s remember, meditation needn’t necessarily be boring…it can be fun too!
Founder- Bodhishishu (Meditation for Kids), Passionate about enriching children's lives through meditation
If you are looking to start your little ones on a meditation path, try our meditation programs that are based on the play-and-learn methodology. Explained through animations, stories, worksheets, guided imageries and music, these programs would help kids manage negative emotions like anger, stress, anxiety, fear, jealousy, insecurity and at the same time develop positive emotions like empathy, love, compassion, gratitude and kindness. Help your kids lead a happy, joyous and fulfilled life! Start early!
Level 1- Foundation Course- Meditations for Self-Awareness
Level 1- Meditations for Developing Empathy
Level 1- Meditations for Managing Anger
Level 2- Foundation Course- Meditations for Patience)