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3 Reasons Your Kids Should Learn to Meditate

10/15/2015 03:38pm ET | Updated October 15, 2016
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If your child is curious about your meditation practice, or has heard about meditation, try guiding them toward their own daily practice. It could help them evolve into responsible, productive and happy human beings.

Meditation releases tension in the mind, according to a growing number of studies, and with a relaxed mind, we don't react or overreact to things that might have otherwise upset us in the past. Instead, in meditation we see those thoughts objectively, acknowledge them and then let them float away. We don't hold onto them or take things personally.

Here are just three reasons kids should learn to meditate for their wellbeing:

Mental Focus

Whether they're at home or school, they can learn to be more mindful of the present moment. When children have a hard time focusing, cry easily, or get overly excited, meditation can help them hone in on only what's in front of them.

Stress Reduction

With so much pressure to perform in today's world, meditation allows them to relax, breathe, and ground themselves to feel comfortable in their own skin. This helps them better handle stress in the classroom, especially when learning new subjects or taking exams.

Peer Pressure Coping

The tween/teen years can be an extremely anxious time. Meditation can help center and calm them, making peer pressure less of an issue. Instead, they'll learn to trust their own inner wisdom to guide them through a maze of decisions, while being more mindful of their actions.

Start early, as soon as age 7, and encourage them to join you when you meditate. Younger children can start off with one minute of silence, and set a positive intention for the day, and expand their meditation practice from there.

Then, you might have them add the following. Each of these examples can be approximately five to 20 minutes in length.

This simple meditation will help bring your child into the present moment. First, let your child find a quiet place to meditate, sitting upright in the traditional cross-legged posture to keep from getting sleepy, or in any other position that is comfortable. Sit with eyes closed, hands on thighs and turn their attention inward, focusing on the breath. Breathe naturally, through the nostrils, without controlling the breath, just be a witness to the breath.

Sound (Mantra)

Om (pronounced "aum") is the sound of the universe, a sacred, vibrational sound that can slow down the nervous system and calm the mind. One easy meditation is to let kids walk very slowly barefoot in the grass or on the beach, chanting "om" in the mind with each step.

Visualization (Yoga Nidra)

Create a kids mini version of this guided meditation, which brings deep relaxation and helps tremendously at bedtime. Like a yoga bedtime story, have them visualize what they want to achieve the next day or week and create positive intentions for success.

Meditation benefits can happen immediately or over time, but starting them at a young age can help focus their lives in a positive, grounded direction.

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