Meditation For Kids | A Practical Exercise

Meditation for kids is a beautiful way to teach our loved ones how to stay centered and grounded. Mindfulness and meditation encourage everyone, adults and children alike to focus on the present moment, to quiet busy minds and to adopt an attitude of peace and tranquility.

Meditation promotes gratitude, self-compassion and is an easy way to connect to our true self. It assists in building self-love and self-worth and can be done anywhere and at anytime. Do I need to say anymore?

Meditation For Children

It is a lot easier for children to learn how to be mindful and meditate than it is for adults. Children are not born with biases, preconceived ideas, and prejudice and they are skillfully adept at learning new techniques. In actual fact, children are naturals when it comes to non-judgemental awareness.

Mindfulness and meditation is NOT a magic pill. So please be aware of your expectations when starting this exercise. Your children will not suddenly stop throwing tantrums, whining, begging or arguing. This is natural child-like behaviour.

Mindfulness for kids

Mindfulness is the quality and state of being conscious and acutely aware. It is the ability to calmly acknowledge and accept your feelings, thoughts, experiences and bodily sensations in such a way that they do not overwhelm you.

Teaching mindfulness to our children will give them the skills to develop their awareness, bringing attention to all their thoughts, emotions, and behaviour. It will show them how to acknowledge and identify their experiences, gain an understanding of how emotions manifest in the body and they will begin to recognize when their attention has drifted.

Why children should meditate

In our modern society, children face many challenges. We have more anxious, agitated and nervous children than ever before. Pressure from peers and parents, performance demands, increased competition, and low self-esteem contribute to this problem. This is exacerbated by social media, overstimulation of technology and their environment. Millions of children are exposed to violence on a daily basis, either live in poverty or lack adequate emotional support.

It is our responsibility as parents, adults, and as a society as a whole to teach the youth of today skills they can use at any time, skills that are sustainable and which will make a big impact on their lives. Meditation teaches children to manage their emotions effectively and to self-regulate, it encourages empathy and compassion and as a skill will pave the way for children to become happy, healthy and fulfilled adults.

Benefits of meditation for children

  1. Increases focus and attention.
  2. Builds compassion, joy, and empathy.
  3. Boosts self-worth and confidence.
  4. Reduces symptoms of stress and anxiety.
  5. Prepares’ children for challenges by showing them how to access their inner strength.
  6. Supports healthy emotional development.

How to teach meditation to kids

“If every 8-year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”
– Dalai Lama

1. Lead by example

It is important for you as a parent or teacher to practice mindfulness and familiarise yourself with meditation first. Often children want to emulate behaviors they see. Once there is a genuine interest you can begin to guide them in the right direction.

Encourage discussion around your child’s emotions and feelings. Explore their experience of the meditation as well. What made them feel happy or sad? It is important to give your own examples as well, showing them that you have different feelings too.

2. Make it relatable

Children respond well to storytelling, and this is why guided meditations work well for children. However, feel free to get creative and use imagery or props to explain meditation and how it works. I have made the meditation scripts below fairly easy to read and follow to help you along.

3. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to meditate

Explain the mediation process first so they are prepared. Meditation should be an experience they enjoy, it should not feel like a task or chore. Try and turn it into a game, or as part of a game, they already want to play.

Don’t worry too much about how they sit. The whole aim is to get your child comfortable with being mindful and practicing being calm. They may want to talk to you during the meditation and that is okay. Answer them, then gently ask them to close their eyes and continue.

If the below meditation is too long, you can try teaching your child to just focus on their breath for a minute or two. Your child may find the meditation uncomfortable or boring if so, stop and try again another time. If this happens, here is a list of some other mindfulness activities you can do with your child instead.

Meditation Scripts For Children

The guided meditations below will help ease, relax and calm your child’s busy mind. Mindfully dedicate this time to the meditation. Find a quiet place to begin, turn off any devices so you don’t get distracted and make sure you have planned ahead so you don’t get interrupted.

Simply read the words on the meditation script in a soothing and gentle voice. Take your time as you read through the script and pause often.

The more frequently you read the script and practice these meditations, the more easily your child will relax and become mindful of their body and breath.

1. Breathing Meditation For Children

  • Close your eyes and take a slow, deep breath through your nose.
  • Continue breathing deeply.
  • Notice how the air feels as it comes in through your nose and moves all the way into your tummy.
  • Feel your tummy get bigger as you breathe in deeply.
  • Feel your tummy get smaller as you breathe out.
  • Take a few more deep breaths and feel your tummy move slowly up and down(Pause to allow your child to practice).
  • Doesn’t this feel relaxing and quiet after your long and busy day?
  • Every time we take a moment to breathe deeply we relax the whole body and this keeps us feeling calm and at peace.
  • No matter where you are or what you are doing this is how you should breathe.
  • Breathing deeply helps to make the body strong and healthy and helps to keep us focused.
  • Breathing is like energy. Feel the energy move inside you as you breathe in and leave you as you breathe out.
  • Now take a moment to listen carefully to all the sounds you can hear around you.
  • You may hear a clock, a car driving by or the birds outside (Pause and give your child a moment to listen).
  • Now I want you to try and listen to your body.
  • Can you hear your heart beating or maybe your tummy is making a sound? (Pause here ).
  • Our bodies are alive and our breath makes sure it stays alive.
  • Every time we breathe we make our body and mind happy.
  • Do you feel happy?
  • When you are ready you can slowly open your eyes.
  • Well done you did a great job. I am proud of you.

2. Gratitude Meditation

  • Close your eyes and take a moment to simply feel happy and thankful.
  • When you notice happy thoughts and emotions it feels as if your heart is warm and full of love.
  • Now concentrate on your breathing.
  • Notice how the air feels as it comes in through your nose and moves all the way into your tummy.
  • Feel your tummy get bigger as you breathe in deeply.
  • Feel your tummy get smaller as you breathe out.
  • As you breathe feel your body relax.
  • Now imagine sitting outside on a soft spot of grass.
  • You feel safe and the sunshine is making you feel warm.
  • You hear birds singing and there are little animals all around you.
  • A little mouse decides to come and sit next to you.
  • She is cute, she has big grey ears, a little pink nose and a twinkle in her eye. This is the gratitude mouse. Isn’t she sweet?
  • The gratitude mouse is here to remind you of all the things you should be thankful for in your life.
  • She jumps up onto your lap and tells you that she will always be here for you. She says she will stick by your side on your good days and on your difficult days. The gratitude mouse makes you feel happy and safe.
  • The gratitude mouse reminds you to be appreciative of the wonderful day you have had. She says you must be thankful for having a belly full of food and a warm house to sleep in. Isn’t she a lovely mouse?
  • The gratitude mouse looks up at you and beams with pride. She tells you that you are so lucky to have a strong body that can breathe for you, a body that helps to keep you alive. Isn’t your body amazing?
  • The gratitude mouse hops off your lap and calls all the other animals to come and sit beside you. They love spending time with you.
  • You feel so loved and appreciated.
  • The gratitude mouse reminds you to be thankful for all the special friends and family in your life. These people care about you and love you.
  • You feel so good in your heart knowing you are cherished and cared for.
  • The gratitude mouse reminds you to always take the time to feel thankful.
  • She tells you that she is grateful to have a friend like you.
  • Life is so much better when we are grateful.
  • When you are ready you can slowly open your eyes.
  • Well done you did a great job. I am proud of you.

Bedtime “Thank you”

I thought I would add this in here because it is something my mom taught me as a child and I continued the tradition with my family. While it may not necessarily be a meditation giving thanks before bedtime can be a wonderful way to include mindfulness and gratitude into your child’s routine.

After your kid’s bedtime story or prayers and before your kids go to sleep ask them to think of all the happy things that happened to them that day. This is a simple exercise so don’t get too complicated.

You can list all the delicious food you ate, the hugs and kisses you gave each other or the games you played. The idea is to start teaching your children appreciation and gratitude no matter how small. Enjoy!

Let’s end this off here

I found this wonderful poem by Sarah Rudell Beach and it depicts the practice of meditation so well. For all the parents and families out there, this one is for you.

A morning meditation poem

– by Sarah Rudell Beach

4:54 am
Coffee poured in a silent kitchen
Settle on cushion, wrap in blankets, sip more coffee
Awaken the phone
{a brief dip into the connected world}
Set timer to 20 minutes, START
Settle into the softness of the body
Sit like a mountain
Listen to the sounds of an awakening house –
Shower running, doors opening, children rising
Listen to the sounds of an awakening world –
Birds outside the window, trucks on the road
Feel the aches in the back, a gentle shift of posture
Dogs on lap, deep sighs all around
Thoughts come …
What should I wear today?
What will I make for dinner?
Thoughts go …
Loud footsteps on the stairs
Nine-year-old running, running
Hugging meditation, snuggling meditation, smiling meditation
Footsteps back up the stairs
Voices, creaking floorboards, movement above
Stillness below
Louder voices upstairs, arguments over school outfits
Let Daddy handle it…
Outfits chosen, voices soften
A moment of silence
A moment of NOISE
Thoughts, stillness, coffee, arguments, hugs, puppies, noises, aches, smiles, voices, breaths
The digital bell tolls
Timer Done
{7,302 people meditating now}
Rise and Shine