Meditation is making waves at private and public schools all over the country, for one simple reason – it works!
Pilot programs in Baltimore, New Jersey, Chicago and even the UK have all reported promising results from integrating a few minutes of meditation into the school day.
Suspensions are down, good behavior in the classroom is up and everyone – from the teachers to the students themselves – are benefitting from regular mindfulness meditation practice.
This is in addition to recent studies that show how meditation helps with a lot of common conditions and illnesses that tend to surface in the childhood and teen years.
From anxiety and depression to autism and Asperger’s, there’s a lot that meditation can do to make a child’s life and happiness at school, and at home, infinitely better.
With this in mind, parents are turning to meditation as one of many parenting tools to enrich their child’s lives.
Many experts believe that it’s never too early to start the practice, and kids as young as 5 or 6 can grasp the fundamentals of slowing down, breathing and taking a moment to enjoy a little calm and quiet.
So if you want to encourage your kids to meditate there are a few steps you can take to make mindfulness meditation a part of their daily lives.
Mindfulness meditation may already be present in your child’s school, but if there’s not a school-based program available, take the lead in encouraging this lifelong beneficial practice.
Be the Model
Kids mimic what they see, to be sure! So the first step to encouraging your kids to try mindfulness meditation is to do it yourself.
By setting the example, and by demonstrably showing how happy you are with your meditation routine, kids will likely follow suit.
Talk to Your Kids (from a First-Hand Perspective)
It’s one thing to tell your kids why a behavior or action is good for them, and it’s quite another to share a personal experience to make the message clear and relatable.
Encouraging your kids to try meditation, and listing the benefits, is helpful to be sure. But to really get them excited, share how it’s affected your own life.
- When you started meditation, were you happier?
- Were you less anxious?
- Did you enjoy certain activities more, or time with friends?
Make the benefits clear and relatable, using real life experience, to get the message across.
Make it a Family Affair
Let’s face it – in today’s world, when there’s so much going on in our daily lives, it’s hard to create quality time with the family unless you make an effort.
Between homework, social relationships, extracurricular activities, and chores, kids already have a full plate – and chances are, you do too!
Well, the great thing about making meditation a family practice is that it increases time with your loved ones in a positive way. We all need a break, after all, and a few minutes of meditation together as a family is certainly
We all need a break, after all, and a few minutes of meditation together as a family is certainly quality time in more ways than one.
Be Clear That Meditation Is a Joy, and Not A "Chore"
You already know that meditation makes you more relaxed, more focused, more skilled at concentration, and a better and more productive person.
Because of this, it can be tempting to want to encourage your kids to take up meditation for reasons that are strictly tied to their behavior and performance in school.
And certainly, meditation has been proven to help with Attention Deficit Disorder, social anxiety, and other common conditions that can affect a child’s conduct and grades.
But the important thing is to make it crystal clear that meditation isn’t solely to ensure your child can improve their actions or academic work. Instead, it’s to make their life better and more enjoyable in a myriad of different ways.
Consider the following two statements:
- Statement 1: “We want you to try meditation because your grades are slipping and you need to do better.”
- Statement 2: “We want you to try meditation, because it’s a great way to feel better about school, and friends, and we think it will make you happier with XYZ.”
The first sentence sounds like a punishment of sorts, doesn’t it? And who wants to be forced into something as a “punishment?”
Besides, as you already know, meditation is NEVER a chore! It’s not something we’re “forced” to do – it’s something we do as a momentary escape, and to ensure our minds, bodies, and emotional selves are performing at their best now, and for years to come.
So never forget when encouraging your kids to join your meditation practice that mindfulness meditation is, at its core, a joyful venture.
By taking the lead, and framing meditation as the rewarding and delightful tool that it is, your children will be excited to get on board with this life-changing practice.
Having a professional teacher on your side will go a long way in getting you started. Once you’re on the path, you’ll be amazed at how far meditation will take you.