Meditation in children, a combination that can work Published: 12-July, 2019


Staff member
Although it does not seem like a very effective tool to deal with children and teenagers, meditation is helping to overcome behavioral problems

Girl sitting in front of a lake / Reference image / Pexels
Post | Juliana Suárez


Thinking about meditation for young people and children may seem counterproductive. How can someone of that age be able to concentrate on clearing the mind? What does a child need to meditate for?

Frequent, logical and well-founded that these questions may be, the truth is that there are already studies that show that it is possible and, more importantly, it is necessary. Techniques such as mindfulness or transcendental meditation, which are becoming important in Western society today, are also effective for young people. Especially for children with attention deficit or some psychological and behavioral problems, meditating can be a useful tool.

Although it is not understood or practiced in the same way that an adult would, it can sometimes be even easier for children to concentrate on one thing for short periods of time. Adults, on the other hand, tend to be thinking many things at once and that prevents concentration. For their part, younger children can be taught by concentrating on specific objects such as flowers, an animal or a place.

The study of meditation as a form of resilience, that is the capacity to face changes and overcome adverse situations, has been studied more than anything in the East, as meditation is an oriental ancestral practice.

The Korean Educational Development Institute, for example, developed in 2013 a study called Promoting positive adaptation of Korean adolescents exposed to violence: Examining a mediation effect of resiliency, in which it shows that practicing meditation had a positive impact on teenagers who have been exposed to violence. For the 4,600 young people, these practices helped them adapt after a violent and traumatic episode from developing self-protection skills in hostile environments, becoming a guide for an effective therapeutic effect.

In some parts of the western world, these practices have begun to be strengthened in schools to disseminate some of the risk factors that are present in the development of childhood and adolescence. Meditation as a relaxation technique has allowed controlling factors of anxiety, bullying and bad behavior in the classroom.

The American Academy of Pediatrics published a study that took into account children from 6 years to 18 with problems of hyperactivity, high blood pressure, and learning problems. During meditation, and while they were sitting, they used different techniques such as mindfulness, transcendental meditation, meditation based on stress reduction and meditation based on cognitive therapy, the results showed that it was effective and could be used as a psychological and psychosocial intervention. However, they affirmed that there were still some limitations necessary to understand their operation.

Both the United States and Latin America are already aiming to strengthen the techniques in schools. Some States have created meditation rooms in schools, and they develop different activities such as "A Minutes of Silence" and "Places of Punishment", which has proven a 75% effectiveness, according to Fast Company. In Uruguay, for example, a school now teaches meditation classes as a way to prevent bullying.

It is important to have some considerations since it is not the same to teach a 6-year-old child to meditate than a 15-year-old teenager.

  • Meditation, as it is formally known, must be practiced at the age of 10, since it is at this age when the "prefrontal cortex allows reflection inward, and that cannot be done by younger kids".
  • For those under 10, unable to perform the action correctly, you cannot teach meditation as such. But, as a parent, you can teach to be a few minutes in silence, to be concentrated on something punctual.
  • To achieve this, both in children over 10 and in children, it is preferable that they have the example of the father or mother.
  • The most effective method to meditate when you have not yet practiced, is looking for a quiet place.
  • It is not necessary that your mind is fully empty because this will be very difficult. You can start by focusing on a specific object.
  • You can start with only 10 minutes of meditation in silence, you can increase it as much as possible.