Top 3 Benefits for Kids and Teens to Meditate

Teach your children to meditate for many benefits. As a Best Mindset Coach and Certified in Guided Imagery, I work with families at a pediatric hospital.  A young boy who had been taught meditation and guided imagery was faced with a medical procedure that scared him.  He told his mom who said, “What would Ms. Vicki have you do?”  The 10-year-old said, “Go to my happy, safe place.”  And that’s what he did. The mom told me this story later as she smiled and reported how the procedure went well, and her son had stayed calm.

Research shows Children who practice yoga, meditation and mindfulness build skills of attention and self-awareness. They have better self-control and make wiser decisions.  They also learn to be more in charge of emotions and behaviors.

1. Social-Emotional Development  

One study found that a social-emotional learning program used with mindfulness was more effective than a classic “social responsibility” program.  Kids in the former treatment had greater empathy, perspective, and emotional control, compared to the control group. They were also more “social” and had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than in the control group.

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for children (MBCT-C) has also been shown to help improve attention and behavior problems, and reduce anxiety in kids who started out with high anxiety levels.

2.  Attention and Focus

Grownups are concerned about kids and attention. Studies have shown meditation helps children with Attention Hyperactive Disorder or ADHD.   One 2004 study found that children with ADHD who learned meditation with their parents twice weekly in a clinic setting, and kept practicing at home, had better concentration at school, among other benefits. A study in 2013 showed that in boys with ADHD reduced hyperactive behaviors and improved concentration within eight weeks..  

3. Self-Awareness and Self-Control

Mindfulness is intimately connected to self-awareness and naturally to self-regulation. If children learn to be more aware of thought processes and reactions in the present moment, kids learn to manage their own internal conflicts better. And the research has backed this up: one study found that kids who learned mindful awareness practices (MAPs) had better executive function after eight weeks of training twice a week.

Children continue to feel stress at home and at school. Our kids deserve to be equipped with tools to help them better cope. As for parents and teachers, raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted children often feels overwhelming. Parents and educators deserve to know and practice mind-body tools, as well.

If you want to learn more about an upcoming workshop series for Children, Teens, and Families, Click HERE.  In our next segment, we’ll talk about the benefits of Group Meditation.   

Wishing you peace!

 

Vicki Atlas Israel is passionate about helping you and your family stress less, while adding more love and joy.  She’s a Best Mindset Coach, Certified in Guided Imagery, a Consultant at a pediatric hospital, and the author of National Bestseller Inner Power NOW: Healing Meditations to Reduce Stress and Pain so Children and Families Thrive. The Foreword is written by Jack Canfield, famous for co-creating Chicken Soup for the Soul® series. Click Here to order her book or contact Vicki for individual coaching at Vicki@HeartTalkNow.com

Help Children’s Sleep Problems

Our wired, fast-paced world may be affecting our children’s sleep.  Their minds and bodies crave sleep to grow and develop, so we need to help our children receive more sleep.   In following hundreds of Preschool children and their sleep patterns, scientists at Northwestern University have discovered much more aggression in those kids who sleep less at night. The study concludes less sleep leads to more behavioral problems by day.

Older children have sleep issues, too.  A National Sleep Foundation poll finds that two-thirds of children under the age of 10 have experienced sleep problems at night.  Many children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder also find more sleep problems.  And research shows lack of sleep may worsen the child’s lack of focus and hyperactivity by day.

We as parents and caregivers can help establish healthy sleep habits.  Make sure our children are receiving the 10 to 11 hours of sleep recommended by pediatricians, including naps.   Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic recommend establishing a regular calming ritual to help children fall into healthy sleep patterns.  Make sure the bedroom or at Daycare is quiet, calm, and comfortable. Keep the room dark, if possible, except for a night light. An hour or more before bedtime, turn off computer games and electronics.  As adults, avoid arguing or provoking issues right before bed.  A relaxed home does make a difference.

Teach children how to relax with deep breathing and positive imagery while lying in bed.  Help them visualize the rays of the warm sun, or the sound of ocean waves soothing them, while doing abdominal breathing.  Guided Imagery helps them calm down for relaxation and sleep.

We offer a solution at Heart Talk Now called Sleepytime Dreams.  Pilot programs at Preschools and Daycare prove it to be quite effective in making bedtime or nap time stress free for young children.  Let the Dream Fairy gently help your children fall asleep feeling loved, safe, and protected.

 

Wishing you Peace!

Vicki