Meditation for children is extremely beneficial for a number of reasons. In this article we’ll be looking at all different techniques for children including: Buddhist meditations for children / how to teach children to meditate / mindfulness for children and more. If you’re interested in teaching your kids these techniques, consider the following list of benefits to see if meditation is right for you and your children.
Benefits of Meditation for Children
- It greatly helps children to develop their focus and attention. It can, for instance, be very helpful for children with ADHD, though it is also helpful for focus and attention in general.
- It removes negative thoughts along with worries. For teens, for instance, it can help them to overcome the stress associated with peer pressure.
- It offers numerous important health benefits, including boosting the immune system and helping with breathing (I suffer from asthma myself and can vouch for the use of meditation in treating the symptoms of asthma).
- It makes practitioners more aware of their surroundings and makes them live more in the present moment.
A simple meditation for children to begin
The first technique for children to begin with is to simply become more aware of the senses. To do this exercise (which is a mindfulness meditation) I recommend planning a day in which you will visit a scene of natural beauty. Choose a nice natural setting to visit and then perform this ten minute exercise.
Click through to the next page for full instructions on the technique.
Ten minute mindfulness meditation for children
- To begin, ask your child to close their eyes and focus on their breathing. They should do so for a couple of minutes.
- Now, ask them to focus on their hearing and to pay close attention to everything they hear. It may help if you ask them to describe the sounds they are hearing.
- Now ask them to pay attention to the sensation of touch. Have them describe that they can feel (for instance, wind on the face, soft grass at their feet etc).
- Now ask them to focus on scents. How does the air smell? Are there any other scents they are aware of etc.
- Now move to taste and repeat.
- Finally ask them to open their eyes and simply look around them. You may ask them to focus on light, on shades and on other visuals to make them mindful of sight.
The purpose of this mindfulness technique is to make them more aware and to enable them to focus on one thing at a time (in the exercise they focus on the sense one at a time).
This is a very simple but effective meditation for children.
Mindfulness Exercises for Children
- Breathing Mindfulness
Breathing meditation is often the best place to start with any sort of meditation practice. Ask the child to sit comfortably and with good posture and to close their eyes. Bring their attention to the sensation of their breath coming and going through the space between their mouth and nose.
Ask the child to place both hands on their stomach and feel their breath rising and falling from there. You may also ask them to repeat a simple word as they breathe in and out, saying “In” on in-breaths and “Out” when exhaling.
Go in stages of five breaths. Have them count five breaths and then ask them to be aware of any thoughts or feelings in their mind. Ask the child to let go of their feelings and thoughts and to return their attention to their breath.
2. Mindfulness with Sound
Once again, begin by focussing the child’s attention on their breath for a few breaths. Explain to the child that they are going to hear a sound and that they should focus on the sound as it gets quieter and quieter. Ask them to nod their head when they can no longer hear the sound.
Use a singing bowl or any other object you have that can produce a pleasant sound. Make the sound quieter and quieter. When the child nods their head (saying they can no longer hear it) have them count five breaths again.
Repeat this exercise a few times.
- 3. Eating Mindfully
It’s always important to make children aware of what they are eating. This exercise helps. Get some food and put it on a plate or in a bowl—be sure that the food is not in its wrapper as this produces unwanted noise.
Have the child count to five breaths. Now ask the child to be mindful of the food on the plate, being aware of the feeling, the image and the scent of the food. If they are holding cutlery you may ask them to be mindful of this.
Get the child to take a small portion of the food and ask them to eat it slowly while focussing on the taste of the food. The child should chew slowly, always aware of the food. Once they have finishing eating ask them to describe the taste and feeling of the food.
Finally, have the child take five mindful breaths and repeat this exercise.
Walking is one of the traditional meditation exercises in Zen Buddhism and is a great exercise for children. Go for a short walk with the child (somewhere safe, naturally) and ask them focus on the sensation of movement in their feet and legs. If the child shows a lack of concentration at any time, stop walking and have them count five breaths.
You may like to extend this mindfulness exercise by consideration sensations related to walking. Ask the child to be mindful of their clothing, or the feeling of wind on their skin or of any other simple aspect of walking.
In this mindfulness exercise the kids will be playing a fun game like finger painting, using a sand table or a similar activity. Once again, begin with awareness of breath.
Tell the child that they can play in whatever way they like but with one condition: they must be mindful of everything they do. Whatever they choose to do during play, they must focus on it absolutely, as we do when meditating. Get the child to be aware of all five senses, being mindful of taste, touch, sight, sound and hearing. Once again, if the child loses focus use five mindful breaths to regain their attention.
On Mindful Meditation Exercises for Children
There are many different mindfulness meditation exercises for children. As you can see with the exercises above, they key is simplicity. You can easily find more exercises by choosing some simple exercises and having the child focus on it absolutely.
With regular practice of these mindfulness exercises you will find that the child’s attention strengthens, that they are more aware of the present moment and that they have must greater concentration.
There are many Buddhist meditations for children which can help to develop a child’s concentration, to improve their mental health and to relax and calm their minds.
ON this page we will look at how to teach children.
The key to getting children to meditate is simplicity and fun. In order to get a child interested you need to make the practice enjoyable. Thankfully, there are many ways to do this.
Buddhist Meditation for Children Step 1: Breathing
Buddhist Breathing Meditation for Children
Whether you’re teaching to children or adults the best place to start is with breathing. Breathing techniques are the grounding for all types of meditation. When we meditate on the breath we quickly calm our mind and improve our focus, which is why breathing techniques are often used as an entry point to more advanced meditation techniques.
Try getting your child to do some simple breathing exercises like alternate nostril breathing. To do this, have the child hold one of their nostrils closed and breathe in through the other. Then switch so that the other nostril is closed and breathe out through the first nostril (so you are breathing in one side, out the other, with one nostril closed at all times). While doing this, ask the child to focus on their breathing. Try this for ten counts.
Diaphragm Breathing Meditation
Once the child has done alternate nostril breathing for a couple of minutes, ask them to focus lower down their body to their diaphragm. Ask the child to breathe deep into this area while observing the movement of air in their body.
Buddhist Meditation for Children Step 2: Activities
The two Buddhist breathing techniques we discussed above create the foundation for a child’s meditation. Once they have practiced these breathing techniques for a few minutes you can introduce some fun activities. Here are a few examples.
1: Meditating on Art
Many children love painting and drawing, both of which can easily be turned into a spiritual practice. To make art a meditation find some object that the child wants to draw or paint. Now ask the child to observe every aspect of the object for a few minutes. Ask them to describe the shape of the object, the feeling and so on. This encourage the child to practice mindfulness. The child can then draw or paint the object but they must focus absolutely on the object while they create their art.
This is an excellent way to get a child to learn two important things: meditation and cooking. Get hold of a fun and simple recipe that the child might like to cook (cookies for instance). Get the ingredients out along with any tools you need.
You’re going to be cooking with the child while teaching them mindfulness meditation. To do this, have the child fully investigate the feeling, smell and taste of the foo d(presuming the food is in an edible state, naturally). At every step in the cooking process, ask the child to be mindful of a) the ingredients, b) any work they are doing and c) the process of change that is happening to the food.
Music is another great way to get a child to learn mindfulness. To do this, find a simple tune that the child can hum or sing. Ask the child to learn the tune. Then ask them to hum or sing it. The important things here is to ask the child to focus absolutely on the sound that they are creating, and also on the feelings in their body as they sing or hum.
As you can see, the basics of teaching to children is to a) make it simple and b) make sure the child is focussing on what they are doing. Once you have these two basics down, you can readily use any activity as a meditation exercise.