Life can be hard. During the tween years, hormones are wreaking havoc on young bodies and emotions. School increases in intensity, social cliques form, kids get more involved in sports and afterschool activities. Tweens may also start using social media to connect with friends and the outside world. While these rites of passage and increased independence can be exciting, there is also a lot of new terrain that can cause stress.
Benefits of Meditation
A great coping skill to get through these rough spots (and beyond!) is meditation. According to Healthline, meditation helps regulate sleep, attention, stress management, creativity, moods, focus, retention of information and overall well-being. Caitlyn Adams, Reiki Teacher/Practitioner, Yoga Instructor and Owner of Energy Healing with Caitlyn says, “Mindfulness and meditation promote focus and clarity of the mind and also help with stress management. By learning these tools young, tweens can minimize the long-term side effects of chronic stress. I work with many mothers who are learning meditation and yoga not only for their own wellbeing but to give their children these tools for success.” Meditation is not just for adults or children, it is for everyone! With so many benefits, there is no reason to skip this self-care step!
What IS Meditation?
Verywell Mind defines meditation as “a set of techniques that are intended to encourage a heightened state of awareness and focused attention.” Very simply put, meditation is focusing on the present moment completely. Our minds get so busy thinking about everything going on in the world around us that sometimes we forget to stop and just be present in the moment. This “presence” is also called “mindfulness” and being aware of every thought and action as it happens.
There are various types of meditation including guided meditation, mantra meditation, candle gazing, loving-kindness and mindfulness. The goal of meditation is to quiet the mind, slow the heart rate and experience focus and relaxation.
Beginning a meditation practice at a young age will help your tween prepare for life by giving them healthy coping strategies. When life gets tough, taking a few minutes to pause and get centered can help reset the mind and body to a relaxed state.
How Can I Help My Child Get Started?
There are many apps and websites that provide tools to help with meditation. Some people find it easiest to start with either a guided meditation or with simply focusing on the breath. To get your child started, you may want to practice together. Follow these simple steps:
- Find a quiet place free of distractions.
- Find a comfortable position. Many people meditate on a cushion on the floor, sitting upright in a cross-legged position.
- Have your child close their eyes or soften their gaze so the world around them is not in clear focus.
- Take a few long, slow breaths, pausing at the end of the inhale and exhale. Pay close attention to the breath and try to block out any potential distractions. If thoughts enter the mind, return focus to the breath.
- Relax the body and also the mind. Let go of all stress and anxiety that is stored within. Remain in this state for 5-10 minutes.
With practice, meditation becomes easier and time may be extended.
RESOURCES TO GET STARTED
mindfulnessforteens.com – Guided meditations designed specifically for youth
dharmacrafts.com – Meditation cushions, books and accessories