Community Psychiatry’s Leela Magavi, M.D. was featured in HelloGiggles discussing the benefits of teaching children to meditate. 

The Basics of Meditation for Kids of Any Age

By: Sarah Lindberg | HelloGiggles | September 29, 2020

Teaching kids to look after their minds is just as important as teaching them how to care for their bodies.

Introducing children to meditation early on — along with establishing healthy sleep routines and limiting screen time — can help them learn how to calm their minds and use healthy coping mechanisms for the rest of their lives.

But sometimes, getting a toddler, preschooler, or even an older child to sit in quiet stillness is not as easy as it looks. That’s why you need to keep meditation on their level.

Here, we explore the basics of meditation, benefits, and tips on how to give children of all ages the tools they need to practice.

Benefits of meditation

While one obvious benefit of meditation for children is a calmer, quieter environment for parents, the pros of this peaceful time extend far beyond what you observe at the moment.

“Teaching children how to meditate early on can help them manage unwanted emotions in a socially acceptable and therapeutic manner,” says Leela R. Magavi, MD, a psychiatrist and regional medical director for Community Psychiatry.

The coping skills they learn from practicing meditation can last a lifetime. More specifically, a consistent practice of meditation can help children with the following:

  • sleep
  • attention
  • self-regulation
  • focus
  • retention of information
  • creativity
  • mood
  • managing stress
  • overall well-being

Currently, sleep is one of the top reasons to teach children how to meditate. “Many of the children I evaluate are struggling with sleep due to disrupted schedules this year, and meditation has decreased sleep latency, improved sleep maintenance, and enhanced sleep quality,” says Magavi.

It may also decrease familial stress and improve relationships, which is why Magavi advises parents to meditate with their kids daily.

How to teach toddlers and preschoolers to meditate

Magavi teaches this breathing technique to toddlers and preschool-age kids.

  1. Picture a big balloon that you want to inflate.
  2. Breathe in slowly and deeply to ensure the balloon will be big.
  3. Breathe out very slowly, so the balloon does not pop.
  4. When you are upset, make your balloon.

Click here to read the entire article on HelloGiggles.

 

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