These days it seems that kids have so much more going on in their worlds. The combination of social media and academic competition can really add to the already new emotions and situations they are having to deal with on a daily basis. Feelings of needing to do better, not being good enough, missing out, or just always needing to be doing something, can create anxiety, stress, moodiness and can even lead to depression. Meditation for kids and tweens may seem like a challenge, but connecting to them to the breath is a great way to get them in the zone.
So how does something so simple like breathing help? Connecting to the breath, and learning to let go, can help kids:
- Organize thoughts & priorities
- Increase self awareness
- Calm the mind
- Relax the body
- Promote positive thinking
And these are just some of the immediate results. Regular practice can really help guide kids to deal with stressful situations in a more positive way.
Just follow these 10 easy steps to bring on the zen:
- Set the stage by turning off the lights and playing some relaxing music. Remind the kids, that there is no talking during this time.
- Have them lay down on their backs, so that they are comfortable with one hand on their belly and one hand on their heart.
- Start out by having them connect to their breath. With their hands positioned, they should be able to notice where their breath is.
- Have them start taking deeper breaths, working on sending the breath deep down into their bellies. Then begin to have them lengthen their breath by counting to themselves. An easy starting point, is inhaling for 4, exhaling for 5. Encourage them to extend this if it’s easy. I.e. inhaling for 6, exhaling for 7.
- Practice this several times to get them really connected and settled in.
- Allow them to notice their thoughts, and suggest that they imagine their thoughts like clouds, just slowly passing by so that they can practice detachment.
- Have them begin to connect and become more aware of their bodies. Guide them through a body scan, noticing how their legs feel, their backs, shoulders…Encourage them to let go and soften along the way.
- Throughout, remind them that if they notice that they are becoming distracted, that they should return back to counting the breath.
- As you’re guiding this meditation, and if the kids are good with it, go around and offer a nice little shoulder or foot massage to help them delve deeper into a relaxed state.
- And finally, let them be for at least 5 minutes.
Make sure to let the kids know not to have any expectations. As they become more comfortable with just being and connecting to the breath, you can extend up to 10 minutes. You’ll soon find out that this will quickly become their favorite pose!