Children are infamous for their insatiable amount of energy and high level of enthusiasm, but sometimes it becomes necessary to find methods to calm them down when they are at these peak levels. Parents can find themselves at a crossroads, in which they are torn between choosing popular forms of entertainment or technology to appease their children during these stressful periods. On the other hand, adults might not want to succumb to granting their kids excessive amount of screen time, a method that has been shown to negatively affect the long-term mental health and attention spans of young boys and girls. Parents can find it difficult to instill healthy habits that allow their children to learn how to handle their emotions in a positive manner and how to make the right choices when dealing with negative ones.
Practicing meditation has often been correlated with positive improvements in many facets of life, including concentration, clean eating, the formation of healthy sleep habits, and overall happiness. Meditation also benefits cardiovascular health, as shown in a study published by the American Psychological Association in 2017, by inducing a state of relaxation. This relaxed state encourages the production of various hormones that have been shown to reduce blood pressure and increase attention span. Wouldn’t better attention spans be a wonderful skill for children to adopt? Over time, meditation even changes the physical structure and functioning of the brain to encourage greater levels of empathy and compassion.
This sounds great, but how can we get children to slow down for even a minute to try and ingratiate these habits into their daily routine? Here are some tips:
Children are Creatures of Habit
Give them a specific time of day to unplug from technology and focus on their breath. Since most kids are balls of energy during the day, meditation can often be successfully implemented as part of a nighttime routine right before bed; this can also help them fall asleep quicker. They are more likely to follow through with tasks they are familiar with, so something as simple as learning to associate bedtime with peaceful breathing techniques can make it easier for them to repeat this the next day.
Meditation takes Time
Meditation is a skill that can be hard for even adults to learn and is something that requires years of practice before it can be perfected. Children absorb new habits like a sponge and have brains that are constantly evolving. The quicker they pick up a habit like meditation and instill it into their routine, the more likely it will remain part of their routine well into their adolescence and adulthood.
Create a peaceful spot in your house that they can call their own. This spot should be free of technology and distractions and should be able to put them at ease.
Show Them How it’s Done
Practice with them! Even if meditation is a habit that is completely new to all involved parties, practicing with the children can help everyone involved learn a terrific new skill together. Experienced meditators can serve as a role model and encourage their kids to follow suit. Parents that show enthusiasm for meditation will have the most engagement from their children.
Teach Them How to be Aware of their Breath
Keeping a steady breath is one of the most important aspects of meditation. Focusing intently on something that comes na
turally to most people can be frustrating to teach a child. Using something unconventional, like a metronome or a timer, to make children aware of their breathing patterns can help develop this skill over time. When they are aware of their breath, they can learn to improve it.
Keep it Simple
There is no chance that children will pick up meditation, or even be excited about it at the beginning, for more than a few minutes per day. When first starting, it’s best to keep it under two minutes. Build up simple breathing exercises over the course of a few weeks and show them how to use meditation when they feel stressed or overexcited.
Make it Fun!
Use anything from colorful yoga mats to pleasant-smelling candles or flowers or set the mood with calm sounds or background music. School is stressful enough, and children should be able to completely settle into a relaxed state from the atmosphere alone.
Use an Application
There are plenty of great apps that can help parents meditate as a family, like Headspace, Simple Habit, or Calm. The more enticing meditation seems, the more likely children will want to continue with the habit long-term.
Let Them Make Mistakes
Remind them that it’s normal to have a hard time sitting still or concentrating; they will probably want to move onto another activity as soon as they get started. Gently guide them back with a simple steady in/out breathing technique and finish up their routine for the day. Be their guide and remind them to do it at least once a day.
Don’t Give Up!
Meditation takes time. Keep at it for a few minutes per day and build it into their routine over a few weeks. Meditation is a skill that gradually gets easier, and if done correctly, can improve the lives of those who engage in this as a part of their daily routine.
Contact the Nanny Authority for More Information Today!
Here at the Nanny Authority, our nannies are well-versed in assisting children with keeping a calm and steady emotional state, as well as other healthy habits. For more information on how the right nanny can help ingratiate these practices in the home, contact us at 973-466-2669 or via e-mail today!