While we all know that proper nutrition, consistent sleep, and plenty of exercise are the main pillars of health, there has also been a growing awareness for stress management as well.
Recent studies are showing that overwhelming stress in children is starting to be a primary cause for many their health problems. Anxiety, obesity, even problems with the heart can all be traced - within reason - right back to chronic stress.
Experts and doctors are scrambling to find the best answer for all of our children - especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is one proven answer to help relieve a childs day-to-dayt stress: meditation.
If you want to help your child’s stress level, or maybe even take preventative measures against a high stress environment, you might want to try this guided meditation in the morning, or before bed.
A Guided Meditation For Children And Stress Relief
In most types of meditations, the mind needs to focus on ONE thing. It can be thoughts, smells, touch, breath, or even sounds. The idea is to focus on the one thing and stay focused on that one thing.
No, we cannot stop our mind from wandering in it’s thoughts - so even if we do focus on one thing, our brain will inevitably stray to other tasks. That is, however, the point of meditation. All we have to do is accept our thoughts as present, but gently bring our focus back to the one thing.
Meditation for kids works as a stress management tool by switching off the “fight or flight” response to stress and allowing the body to switch on the relaxation response. As such, when children meditate, they are less likely to be subject to the greater stressors in their lives.
In fact, there is even science behind the practice! Instead of making stress hormones, like cortisol or adrenaline, meditation helps the brain to generate neurochemicals which trigger a relaxation response in the body. In other words, meditation literally changes your body.
There are a number of different different types of meditations for kids – all of which can help. Below, though, are the methods we recommend to start – maybe even tonight!
Sitting Meditation For Kids
- Find a quiet spot in the house, where you can sit comfortably
- No distractions like pets, phones, iPads, TV, computers
- Sit quietly for few seconds or minutes, breathing normally, with your eyes closed
- Take one, slow deep belly breath through your nose – hold for 4 seconds – breathe out through your nose slowly
- Repeat 3 times
Breathing Meditation For Kids
- Start with the “sitting” meditation (see instructions above) and continue to focus your attention on the breath flowing in and out, effortlessly, without trying to change it
- You can repeat “breathing in/breathing out.”
- If you start noticing thoughts or have any feelings in your body or hear sounds around you, gently release them and focus again on your breath
- Start with 10 minutes/day, twice a day, increase slowly to 20- 30 minutes, twice a day
Walking Meditation For Kids
- Focus on your heart center, in the middle of the chest
- Start breathing in and out slowly
- Recall a positive emotion or think of something or someone you love
- Start walking while focusing on your heart center, breathing in and out slowly, while repeating phrases like “I am peace”, “I am happy”, “I am relaxed”, “I am joy”.
- (Depending on the age of the child and the location of the walk, an adult may need to accompany the child)
Mindfulness Meditation For Kids
- Take a deep breath in and slowly breathe out
- Notice and name silently 3 things that you hear in your environment
- Notice and name silently 3 things that you can see
- Notice and name silently 3 things that you can touch
- Notice and name silently 3 things that you can taste or smell
- Restart your regular activity; repeat as needed, several times throughout the day