Meditation for teens isn't something that many people talk about, but meditation has helped me so much that I figured I should pass it onto my kids. Just another mother daughter activity to add to the list!
Meditation for Teens and Tweens
Let’s face it, kids 8 to 18 aren’t typically very “aware” of anything outside their own worlds. Meditation is probably one of the last things on their minds, but it should be first! The benefits of meditation for kids of all ages are overwhelmingly positive. Many schools around the country and the world are starting to incorporate meditation breaks into the school day and have seen increases in student concentration and better test scores. With summer in full swing, though, how do you convince your strong willed child to sit and do “nothing” for even five to fifteen minutes?
Guided Meditations: Great for beginners and experts alike, guided meditation will help your child by guiding through meditation step by step. All they have to do is listen! Plus, it’s not you “telling” them to do it.Not only does your child gain the benefits from the meditation itself, but it betters their concentration and active listening skills. Have them save or create a playlist of their favorites!
Bonus: Guided meditation is great for helping them fall asleep, too.
Yoga Nidra: Usually done in a live class or as a guided audio walk through, most people young and old love Yoga Nidra because you get to just lie down and close your eyes. It’s about relaxing and resting. It is a wonderful stress reliever and can be used at night to help fall asleep. No twisting or downward facing dogs, it’s almost like nap time! Teens and Tweens get stressed out, just like all of us, but their coping mechanisms have not matured yet. This is a great way to teach them not only how to cope, but to take a little time for themselves to decompress. Try this album to get your teen into a deep sleep.
Bells: Doing a timed meditation that has bells, chimes, or singing bowls struck at intervals may seem kind of boring on its own. It is super easy to turn into a game though! This does well with the younger set, but older kids who are competitive might like to get in on the action, too. Keep it short and set the sound at an interval that will sound at least a couple of times during the session. Have them sit, close their eyes, take a deep breath and relax. When the bell chimes, have them raise their hand. They need to listen as hard as they can and only drop their hand when they no longer hear the sound. It can be impressive how long some go on for! Again, this promotes active listening skills. It helps with focus by devoting their mind to one task.
Family Time: Have everyone get in on the action. Now, this might not go over well initially, as this age group can be quite independent, but it will soon become habit. My girls fight constantly, so making this a family effort helps them chill out, even if it's just for a few minutes!
It can be a short timed meditation or a group guided meditation, whatever you feel like. Take five minutes, sit comfortably, breath deeply, and let go. Afterwards, talk about “Monkey Mind” as it’s a great analogy that kids can understand. Explain how when our minds are like monkeys, they are super busy. They have twenty something browser tabs open and are going through them all. Brains jump from one thing to another and never stop. This is just plain exhausting. Meditation makes the mind stop and focus on just one thing; and that one thing can be anything! Their breath, counting, “nothingness”, that new shirt they really, really want. Just stay thinking about that one thing, that’s the key. Let them know to not worry if their mind does wander. It’s okay, realize the mind wanders and get back to the “one thing” to focus on.
The girls love making zen gardens together (and separately). Try the DIY version, or buy one on Amazon!
Meditation may first appear to be just another thing to add to a busy schedule, but it really does not take much time, and the benefits far outweigh any time taken. Even taking five minutes to just stop whatever they are stressing about (homework, bullies, social pressures, etc.) will help calm them, refocus them, and teach them lifelong skills for coping and relaxing. Meditation is great for anyone but starting at an early age will help mold their brains to be happier and more productive! What a great skill set to have!
P.S. Check out our favorite subscription boxes for teens and tweens while you're here!