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Updated on:

March 7, 2024

In today’s fast-paced, digitally-driven world, it’s more important than ever that children are supported in slowing down and honing their attention. Mindfulness and meditation are powerful tools for cultivating presence and well-being, and children can benefit from these practices just as adults can. 

That being said, teaching children meditation requires a unique approach as compared to when we teach adults to meditate. In this comprehensive guide on how to teach kids to meditate, we will share benefits, strategies, and child-appropriate considerations to make when teaching young ones. We’ll focus on mindfulness meditation.

May this guide support you in raising children who embody greater care and curiosity towards their experiences of themselves and the world at large.

how to teach kids to meditate, A Comprehensive Guide on How to Teach Kids to Meditate

How to Explain Meditation to a Child

Mindfulness meditation is a practice of holding non-judgmental awareness towards what is present, here and now. However, this definition may fall flat upon the ears of children. Children of different ages, developmental abilities, and maturity levels may resonate with different words, but some ways you might describe meditation to a child include:

  • Meditation is about taking time to pay attention.
  • Meditation is about pausing to notice what’s happening around and inside of us.
  • Meditation is when we pause all our busy activity and start to notice the subtle things around and inside of us, like how our breath is moving or what sounds we can hear.

When we explain the concept of meditation to children, it should be made tangible and relatable. Therefore, it’s important that we flesh out our explanation with examples or experience. For instance, you might invite your child to lay on their back, place their hands on their belly, and see if they can count three breaths as the belly rises and falls. Alternatively, you could set a timer for one minute and listen to the birds until the timer rings. Explain that these are little moments of mindfulness meditation

It’s helpful to make meditation an enjoyable experience for children. It shouldn’t be a chore or a task that we ‘must’ do. By honing in on a child’s innate curiosity and wonder, we can make meditation a process of enlivening exploration.

how to teach kids to meditate, A Comprehensive Guide on How to Teach Kids to Meditate

The Benefits of Meditation for Children

Just as is the case for adults, studies are finding that there are many potential benefits of meditation for children. Some of what we’re learning through research and case studies suggests that:

It’s important to recognize that individual outcomes will vary. Every child will have a different experience with meditation. Additionally, results can take time and patience is important. Consistency will help benefits to unfold, but it’s also important to be flexible and responsive to your child’s needs and experience. Mindfulness and meditation should not be viewed as a one-size-fits-all solution.

Additionally, mindfulness and meditation should not be considered a replacement for medical or psychological interventions when needed. In cases of serious mental health concerns or medical conditions, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for appropriate guidance and support tailored to the child’s specific needs. Meditation should not delay the seeking of treatment when it is needed.

how to teach kids to meditate, A Comprehensive Guide on How to Teach Kids to Meditate

At What Age Can You Teach a Child to Meditate?

Children of all ages, beginning at toddlerhood, can learn to ‘meditate’ - in age and developmentally-appropriate ways, of course. For younger ages, ‘meditation’ might look more like ‘mindful exploration’. We can be flexible with how we’re defining meditation here.

For example, younger children might do best with very short focused-attention practices (i.e. feeling their belly rise and fall for just a few breaths) or bringing curious attention to their senses (i.e. observing nature, listening to calming music).

It’s also worth noting that things like developmental needs and maturity may be more important than age when determining when and how a child is ready to meditate. Each child is unique and it’s important to be attuned to their individual needs and readiness.

Introducing Meditation to Different Age Groups

For further guidance on how to teach meditation to children based on age, consider this breakdown of age-appropriate ways to get started. Remember that your child may need something a bit different from what is suggested below. Use your intuition as a guide; you know your child best.

Toddlers and Preschoolers

For the youngest children, meditation is often more about mindful exploration than a formal seated practice. When your child is ready, you can teach them to ‘teddy bear breathe’ - resting on their back with a teddy bear on their belly and watching the bear move with each breath. You can also help them to explore their sensory experience, such as by noticing the colours they see or listening quietly to the sounds of nature.

School-Age Children

When children grow out of toddlerhood, you might introduce them to a more formal type of meditation. This could be a seated mindful breathing practice (starting with just one or two minutes) or a walking meditation (helping them to notice the feeling of their feet on the ground as they walk). You can also introduce them to mindful eating by sharing a slow snack together.


As the child gets older and transitions into their teenage years, they may be ready for longer meditation practices or more mature mindfulness-related practices, such as self-compassion. Their readiness for longer, more mature practices will be (in part) influenced by how much (if any) meditation experience they already have. If they’ve never meditated before, it’s helpful to start with the basics, like mindful breathing and body scans. Supporting them to become more mindful and compassionate towards their emotions is also a useful practice for teenagers.

When introducing mindfulness and meditation to children of any age, it’s important to always show up with your own embodiment of curiosity, care, and compassion. Modeling mindfulness is an often overlooked aspect of teaching meditation to kids. How you share mindfulness is just as (if not more) important than what you share.

how to teach kids to meditate, A Comprehensive Guide on How to Teach Kids to Meditate

Helpful Tips for Teaching Meditation to Children

Consider Simple Breathing Exercises:

The breath is a common starting point in meditation, and it’s a great place for kids to learn to anchor their attention. Mindful breathing does not need to be long and drawn out. It can be as simple as counting out three to five breaths. Even just one minute of slow, deep breathing can reduce stress in a child’s body.

Use Engaging Activities:

Mindfulness and meditation don’t need to be formal and serious. With children, it’s a great idea to make these practices creative and engaging. Consider taking a mindful walk, exploring mindful movement, or doing a mindful craft. For example, creating a gratitude jar is a fun way to help your child increase their awareness of all the blessings in their life.

Incorporate Mindfulness into Daily Routines:

You don’t have to rely on formal meditation moments to increase your child’s mindfulness. Bring mindfulness to everyday activities, such as by encouraging them to pay attention to the food they eat, broaden their awareness while walking through nature, and note the day’s blessings before bed.

Create a Dedicated Meditation Space:

Meditation doesn’t need to happen in a particular place. However, children may feel more motivated to practice meditation if they have a dedicated and personalized space for it. Let them assist you in setting up a cozy corner in the house for quiet meditation time. Allow them to choose their own meditation cushion or chair and add any other supportive items to the space.

Utilize Technology Wisely:

You don’t need to teach your kids to meditate all on your own. There are a number of online resources and child-friendly meditation apps that can support you. Some are free and some require payment or membership. Consider the following as potential resources for support:

Lead by Example:

As briefly noted earlier, your own embodiment of mindfulness is crucial as a parent or caregiver. Children are known to imitate or mirror others, so you’ll teach them plenty through your very way of being. Consider what mindful qualities you’d like your kids to develop and then consider how you can deepen your own embodiment of these qualities.

Be Patient and Flexible:

Move through this process of teaching children meditation with patience, flexibility, and curiosity. Leave your expectations aside and stay open to how things unfold. If something isn’t working, try something different. Be aware that frustration, disinterest, and difficult emotions may arise. Tend to all of it with care and adaptability.

how to teach kids to meditate, A Comprehensive Guide on How to Teach Kids to Meditate


Teaching kids to practice mindfulness and meditation is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It requires creativity, flexibility, openness, and care. Whether you’re a teacher, parent, or caregiver, this guide on how to teach kids to meditate is a starting point for sharing these supportive skills with our young ones.

Remember to be patient, to listen, and to lead with your own embodiment of mindfulness. May these resources - and your teachings - help us to build a more mindful world. May they help us raise children with greater compassion, resilience, and presence - for the benefit of all.

About the author 

Gillian Florence

Gillian Florence Sanger is a writer, meditation teacher, and certified hypnotherapist in Depth Hypnotherapy. She finds inspiration, insight, and solace most readily during her walks in the woods. Gillian has roots in Toronto but currently lives in the Swedish countryside.