Early in life, children are exposed to numerous things and scenarios that usually result in increased level of stress, restlessness, and anxiety at a young age. It is a known fact that meditation is a great tool to find solace and balance despite the hectic schedule of everyday life. The question is how you encourage your children to practice meditation regularly.
The research done by the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) revealed that approximately two million more children in the United States were diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) between 2003 and 2012. Also, one million more children are taking medications for ADHD. Shockingly, they are diagnosed before the age of six. Another study done by National Therapies Research Unit at Royal Hospital for Women in Sydney, Australia showed notable improvement in managing ADHD symptoms with children who were taught to meditate. The research revealed that the children who meditate have a better sense of self-esteem, improved ability to focus, and improved relationship with parents. What is more significant is that 50 percent of children under medication either halted or reduced their medication through continued meditation. Since it is now a fact that meditation is beneficial for children with ADHD, another hurdle to overcome is how to get your kid to be excited about meditation.
Be a model
Children with ADHD are similar to any child regarding imitating behaviors. To get them started on meditation, try meditating when he/she is around, and most probably, he/she will join in. Whenever he/she sees parents, sitting quietly on a corner and meditating, the child will most likely sit beside you and start meditating.
Set a time, maybe for a day or half-day to purely dedicate to silence. It is better to start in smaller time increments. It will be a tremendous de-stressing technique would be advantageous to you and your child, and since it would be unusual to declare that he/she needs to be quiet merely, turn this silent time into a game. Who can be the most peaceful person the longest? This quiet time promotes discipline, patience, and easiness in being still. It is advised to break the silence with an exciting fun game or a song filled with words of kindness, compassion, love and good intentions.
Numerous experts recommend a measurement on how long is the appropriate time of medication for kids. It should be one minute of meditation per year of age, ideally starting at the age of eight. If the diagnosis of ADHD is earlier than the age of six, you can start him/her in meditation and determine the time of reflection based on the child’s age and nature. In short, it will be a trial and error process.
Breathing Exercise (Pranayama)
In meditation, it is believed that breath is in line with the life-force energy (prana). Pranayama is said to be one of the essential tools for the child’s well being regarding meditation. It can be utilized as a calming technique and a distraction as well. In fact, one parent uses breathing exercises when the child is about to start a tantrum and during incidences of severe hyperactivity.