The benefits of meditation for kids are very similar to the wonderful gains we receive when we meditate as adults. From improvements in self-esteem, lowered hyperactivity and better attention spans, to decreased anxiety and enriched relationships between kids and parents, the potential pros are huge. Earth HQ chatted to meditation expert and founder of Calm Conscious & Connected Dr Paula Watkins to get her top tips for encouraging kids to meditate.
- Schedule silent time. This could be as simple as one minute each day or one hour on a Saturday.
- Lead by example. A lot of children’s behaviour is learnt through modelling, so let them observe you meditating. Children are intuitive so they will also be observing the effects that meditation has on you.
- Introduce a daily mindfulness practice. Tune in to the present moment via Dr Paula’s free Five Senses practice. This is something you can try while in the car, at the park or hanging out at home.
- Express gratitude. Establish a nightly routine of each member of the family recalling three good things from their day around the dinner table or just before bedtime.
- Try a yoga nidra-type practice. This is a lovely deep-relaxation bedtime practice where kids can mentally go through each part of their body to help release tension.
- Focus on the breath. Talk to your kids about using their breath to check in with how they’re feeling. What do they notice about their breathing when they’re scared or worked up? Help them understand that the breath is also a pathway back – if they breathe differently, they can start to feel differently.
- Connect online. Dr Paula recommends finding a good app, such as the Australian-made app Smiling Mind.
Dr Paula is featured in our launch issue of Earth HQ magazine. Make sure you’re signed up to our mailing list to receive your free copy, listen to Dr Paula’s free Five Senses practice and find out more about Calm Conscious & Connected online.