Teaching kids to meditate

8 year old

Many of my meditation students have instinctively brought their knowledge of meditation home to their families. That’s because they know that meditation works to cultivate more calm in their lives. Building resilience with meditation to deal with our busy lives, our busy monkey minds and the things that can bring us down in an instant – an important skill we can teach our children that will last a lifetime.

Regardless of a child’s age, meditation can be introduced with great success.  It doesn’t even need to be called ‘meditation’ at a young age. Many people have asked me how.  You can use this at any time, at bedtime or when they’re all worked up and have trouble settling down.  It’s simple:

  • get them to stop what they’re doing, then sit or lie down.
  • say ‘we’re going to listen for our breathing now’ and do this with them.
  • have them put their hand on their tummy, and ask them if they feel their tummy moving with their breath.
  • you can add some interesting activity to it, such as putting a pebble on their tummy so they can notice the rise and fall of the pebble as they breathe.  Or, ask them to count their breaths.  Anything that helps them calm down and focus on their breath is wonderful, and kids enjoy it.

Doing this together with your child is a nice bonding experience and can help them feel more connected to you.

As adults, we can easily dismiss that children feel stress at any age.  Teaching children the simple lifeskill of meditation is a valuable gift.

Free the Mind is a brilliant documentary, showing how meditation helps war veterans with PTSD and children with ADHD.

I applaud actress Goldie Hawn for creating a mindfulness program for elementary schools called MindUP™.  It trains teachers to bring meditation into the classroom, nurturing optimism and happiness, helps eliminate bullying and aggression, increases empathy and compassion, while resolving peer conflicts in schools. Students learn to self-regulate behavior and mindfully engage in focused concentration required for academic success.

So when I saw the photo above, it was easy for me to envision a better, calmer world if we raise today’s kids to meditate.

Do you have a child you could introduce this to?  Please do!





11 thoughts on “Teaching kids to meditate

  1. Great article, Wendy. I am going to do some meditation with my girls today. I know they will love it….can’t wait to see how my wiggly, busy one responds :-).

  2. our therapy consortium does not have a concerted voice, a proactive sort of life coaching branch. we define mental health by the absence of disorders.
    have you ever heard of an individual who went to a therapist to be happier?

    why not, we are missing the boat then.

    i have actually made a model for meditating, that could be used for kids. you could hook my model up to moving lights at the pace of our breath /

    you could actually have games with meditating for kids.

    great job you are doing.


      • here is one post and a pic of the breathing track model.

        i went to a zen center for five years, meditated five hours everyday for five years and the counting the breathes model is flawed. counting, math is the highest form of cognitive functioning, the opposite if what meditating is about.

        i sat with intention to know more and more about the breather, focus and being empty. getting lost in thought always happened at the end of the inhale or at the end of the exhale, thus a continuum of sorts became the original idea.

        i just connected the ends of the inhales and exhales with two flat arches, and named them pauses or transitions. counting your breathes has no model, no pauses, no relationship to symmetry, balance of flow.

        with the model a beginner meditator is faced without any abstract ideas or thoughts. they can see the model, touch it, follow it as they breathe with their eyes open first.

        the breath and mind balance themselves and a flow like a piece of music emerges.

        i have helped people develop a focus skill in a fraction of the time it took me to learn.

        also you could hook lights up to the model and link it to the speed of the breath which we naturally slow, activating our parasympathetic nervous system, applying the brakes,

        add in our listening skills, searching for the quietest sound in the room then listening deeper, thoughts have so much harder time penetrating this simple model if practiced.

        the model can be anything, a continuum is optimum.

  3. Why we do not define happiness in school an any level is completely absent.

    Neuroscience defines what areas of the left prefrontal cortex lights up with our positive emotions, Buddhists tell us the pursuit of happiness is our goal, so why do we not define and lay out a path to achieve it.

    Even through higher education, our wisdom is all cognitive.

    • Well said, Marty!
      There is so much known about neuroscience now. Many are doing a good job getting it out there through seminars and books, etc, but unfortunately our education system is lacking. I wish the education system would teach life skills that would truly make a more positive impact – yes, as you suggested, but also how to manage personal finances is sorely missing.

      I must say, I’ve seen a large shift in consciousness of many people in the past 2 years, especially in the past year. So many people are interested in trying to understand this thing called mindfulness and are opening up to the idea of meditation. NOW is the time to help that shift gain momemtum.


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