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Updated on:

February 2, 2023

Calmness, compassion and curiosity, oh my! Mindfulness meditations for kids are age-appropriate exercises that help kids explore and enjoy their moment-to-moment experience. Kids’ practices are short, fun and engaging.

Meditation for children has become a beloved, integral part of many school programs around the world. Children can reap all the benefits of meditation that adults enjoy. Introducing mindfulness to kids at a young age plants seeds for their lifelong mental, emotional and social well-being.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the world of meditation for children. 

Benefits of Kids Meditation

When kids practice meditation, they grow their mental, emotional and social intelligence.

Mental benefits:

  • Kids learn they can control where they put their attention, improving focus and concentration.
  • Older children learn to watch their thoughts and the effect they have on mood and behavior. Kids can choose thoughts that empower them and support them to make good choices.
  • Meditation increases communication between areas of the brain, improving creativity and problem-solving.

Emotional benefits:

  • Meditation helps kids to befriend their emotions. They practice learning what anger and sadness feel like in their body. And they experience how emotions move and change.
  • Locating and caring for emotions in the body, calms kids’ nervous systems and reduces anxiety.
  • Through being curious and kind with their emotions, children learn self-care and self-compassion.

Social benefits:

  • Kids who practice meditation regularly have happier, stronger relationships.
  • Practicing self-compassion and acceptance ripples out to empathy and understanding of others.
  • Meditation helps kids to be less impulsive and reactive, reducing conflicts with friends and family.
meditation for kids, Meditation for Kids

Best Age for Kids to Start Meditation

Children of just about any age can meditate. Kids as young as three or four can enjoy and benefit from simple exercises. Look for guided meditations adapted for particular age groups and kids’ attention spans! 

There are a few guidelines to keep in mind to find practices that are a good fit for your child. The maturity of each individual child will guide your choices.

  • For young children, aged four to eight or so, meditations that focus on the body are best.
  • These practices are also beneficial for older children and teens. And they are old enough to do more self-reflective meditations that focus on awareness of emotions and thoughts.

Types of Meditations Suitable for Kids

There are as many types of children’s meditation as there are adult practices. These meditations fall into two categories:

  • mindfulness practices
  • imagination practices

Mindfulness Meditations for Kids

Mindfulness meditations for kids are traditional practices that are modified for children. Kids are guided through explorations of sensation and perception to ground them in the present. Older children learn how to watch their thoughts and feelings with some objectivity and self-care.

These meditations include practices like:

  • body scan
  • breath meditation
  • lovingkindness meditation
  • sound meditation
  • walking and movement meditation
  • noticing thoughts and feelings with curiosity

Imagination Meditations for Kids

Kids love meditations that harness the power of their imagination. These meditations guide kids through a full-body, positive experience, like:

  • a guided journey to a happy place where kids have everything they need
  • imagining a grounding cord going deep into the earth to get rid of anxiety or bring up the strength of the earth
  • pretending to be a bird soaring through the sky seeing worries from a distance
  • watching thoughts and feelings coming and going, like outside a car window

A Guided Meditation Practice for Kids

Here is an example of a mindfulness meditation for kids that uses attention to sound.

  • For this meditation, you need a chime or bell that makes a sound that lasts at least 10 seconds.
  • The task for your child is to listen to the sound from start to finish–from the moment you strike the chime until the sound fades into silence.
  • Ask your child to raise their hand when they can’t hear the sound any longer.
  • Repeat this a few times.
  • Before each ring of the chime, you can quietly ask questions like. “Can you listen to the sound even longer this time?” Or, “What do you hear after the sound is gone? Or, “Do you see anything when you hear the sound?”
  • End by talking about the exercise together for a few minutes.

Guided Audio Meditations for Kids

Children love storytelling, don’t they? And most kids enjoy being read to when they’re cosy in bed ready for sleep.

So, guided audio meditations, written just for kids, are a great way to introduce mindfulness. You can choose meditations designed especially for a child who gets anxious falling asleep. Or, you can pick an imaginative journey that incorporates mindfulness concepts into a fun, calming story.

Tips to Help Kids Meditate

How can you introduce children to meditation at home or at school? Start with a brief, fun chat about meditation. Here are a few tips:

  • Ask the child if they’ve heard about meditation or mindfulness at school.  What did they hear? What sounded like fun? What sounded silly?
  • Talk a bit about how other kids have used mindfulness, like getting focused before a big game or reducing their anxiety before a test.
  • Then ask your child how they think they might use meditation.

When you’re ready to guide children through an exercise, remember these tips:

  • Keep mindfulness fun and casual. Is it like a test? “No, you can’t do it wrong! It’s like exploring.”
  • Do the practices with your child at the beginning, so you can share your experiences with each other.
  • Relate ideas and practices to things your child cares about or is sometimes troubled by. “Maybe you can use the relaxing breath the next time you argue with your brother.”
  • Keep practices short. The length of the practice should equal the child’s age in minutes–for example, about seven minutes for a seven-year-old.

Mindfulness Comes in All Shapes and Sizes!

In addition to these tips, keep in mind that any activity can be done mindfully. You can add a mindful element to something kids do every day, like eating. Or, you can choose from the many wonderful mindfulness activities created just for kids

Integrating mindfulness principles into everyday life and everyday challenges is just as important for kids as for adults. Playful, mindful activities for children:

  • make sure that meditation is fun and exploratory
  • show children how being mindful changes the way they experience everyday things

You can choose a “mindful moment” to do together every day for a while. You can mindfully brush your teeth and talk about what it was like. Or, you can be mindful as you walk to the corner store and discuss new things you noticed.

You can help your child see mindfulness as a simple, fun thing they can add to whatever they’re doing. And doing it with you will become another great thing you share.

Also check out our Meditation Worksheets for Kids collection for an effective and fun practice.

Meditation for Kids FAQs

How Can Kids Be Mindful?

Kids can be mindful by “being here, without judgment,” just like adults. Practices tailored for kids help them to explore their inner and outer experiences with curiosity and kindness.

Can I Teach My Children Meditation?

Yes, you can teach your own children meditation. We hope our expert tips in this article can help you get started with some confidence. And you’re welcome to explore our kids’ resources here on MindfulnessExercises.com

My Kid Won’t Sit Still! What Should I do?

If your child won’t sit still for meditation practices, that’s ok. There are meditations that practice awareness through movement, like pretending to be a tree moving in the wind.

Can Meditation Help Kids With ADHD?

Recent studies show that meditation can be an empowering practice for kids with ADHD.  Meditation shows them concrete ways to slow down, calm their nervous system and focus their attention.

Can Meditation Help Kids With Anxiety?

Meditation is a proven tool kids can use any time and anywhere to help with the physical, mental and emotional effects of anxiety.

Is Meditation Popular in Schools?

Meditation for kids has become a common feature in many classrooms. Teachers use meditation to strengthen attention, performance and cooperation with others. Some schools even use meditation for kids’ time-outs.

Conclusion

Teaching children how to meditate is a gift that can serve them all the way into adulthood. The basic skills of self-awareness and self-compassion create a caring, safe space for kids to learn about themselves and their world.

Medical Disclaimer

The information contained in this article is not a substitute for any professional advice or treatment, including the advice and treatment of a licensed health care or mental health professional.


About the author 

Ann Vrlak

Ann Vrlak is a Certified Meditation Teacher for adults and children (the best job ever) and a meditation practitioner for over 25 years. She is also a freelance writer specializing in meditation and mindfulness, with a special love for creating guided scripts to share the practical and profound experience of meditation.

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