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    Benefits of Teaching Children About Meditation

    Note: This is a guest post by Virginia Cunningham.

    Meditation is a pastime that most of us have tried at least once or twice. It boasts benefits that all of us could use—it has a calming effect, helps us become more disciplined, and can help sharpen focus. Who doesn’t want these traits? Moreover, it’s a great way to start your day, wash away a hard day at work, wind down before sleep—or all of the above.

    Now, we know meditation poses great benefits for adults—but what about our children?  Is meditation something worth teaching our hyperactive kids? Contrary to what you might believe, children and meditation actually go quite well together, and here’s why:

    It reduces stress

    Meditation can be a great way to bring your child down from a tantrum. You know that point where they’re completely inconsolable? This is the ideal time to meditate.

    It can be difficult to get your child’s attention when they’ve reached that stage of full-out tantrum, so many mothers have started DIY-ing their own glitter jars (AKA “calm jars” and “mind jars”). Glitter jars are– you guessed it– jars filled with a suspension of glitter, glitter glue and water (fancier recipes include sequins, glycerin and/or corn syrup).

    When your child is upset, you simply shake the jar and watch as the glitter swirls and eventually settles to the bottom. It can be the first step in mindfulness and meditation for your child.

    Another option for stress-relieving meditation is baby yoga—have you ever been to a baby yoga class? No tears, no squalling—just incredibly peaceful babies and toddlers.

    It helps them focus

    Meditation is also a great, natural way to help your child focus. Focus can definitely be difficult for young children—especially in this post-Sesame Street day in age. New research shows that meditation can increase focus in all individuals, and who needs it more than your grade-school child?

    Research also shows that it can help children with ADHD manage their symptoms. If your child is currently taking ADHD medication, meditation can help to also help to reduce their symptoms. In fact, some children are even able to increase their attention span after being introduced to a meditation practice.

    It teaches them discipline

    The discipline and focus practiced in meditation has been shown to improve school performance. It can be a way for them to learn how to look past distractions and stay on task, both at home and at school.

    Meditation is especially beneficial for children, because its benefits can be lifelong. The focus, calmness and discipline that your child can gain from simple meditation (be it in the form of traditional meditation, yoga, tai chi, etc.) have a huge impact—they will go into their day more ready to learn each day.

    Virginia Cunningham is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area whose writing covers everything on health, marketing and tech. She enjoys meditating with her three children each day to provide them with a better quality of life.

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    5 Responses to “Benefits of Teaching Children About Meditation”

    1. Mark says:

      The link to the article in parentingoc states “In a 2004 study published in the Journal of Applied School Psychology, mindful awareness exercises helped 1st through 3rd graders reduce anxiety and improve school performance.”

      Unfortunately, the article does not provide a reference to the research paper. Fortunately, I was able to find the research paper online: garrisoninstitute.org/component/docman/doc_view/681-effects-of-mindful-awareness-practices-on-executive-functions-in-elementary-school-children?Itemid=1203

    2. Angela says:

      After my recent flight next to two ill-tempered kids, I’d love to see airports provide meditation for kids pre-flight!

    3. Bruce says:

      The studies mentioned in the Time magazine article are interesting.

      The first one mentions “… During the retreats, the attendees underwent at least five hours a day of meditative practice …”. My reaction was “Ugh! There is no way I can do that!”.

      Fortunately, the article goes on to state “One recent study by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte found that students were able to improve their performance on tests of cognitive skill after just four days of meditation training for only 20 minutes per day.”

      Yes! I can do that! :)

    4. Brian says:

      Yeah, meditation seems like a good way to help a child (or anyone) build his or her emotional skill set. I suppose meditation is a form of mental training which allows one to keep impulses in check and stay in mental control.

    5. Sarah says:

      Thanks for the suggestion about glitter jars! I had not heard of them before. I found this video about how to make them on youtube:

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