Helping Anxious Kids Find Calm: Three Easy Meditations

If living with a food allergy is raising your child’s anxiety level, there are simple, calming meditation techniques you can teach them.

Once learned, a child can use these skills to manage or lessen distressing thoughts, particularly when no adult is immediately available to provide comfort—such as during the night, or when riding the bus to school.

Three Kid Friendly Meditations

Here are three meditative techniques that even young children can learn, and though a child’s attention span is typically short, it doesn’t matter. The idea is to introduce these skills to children in a gentle, and playful way.

  • Breathing Buddies. Using a breathing buddy makes this meditation friendly and fun for kids.
  • Have a child, or children lay on the floor and place a favorite stuffed animal on their belly. Ask them to breathe in silence for a minute, and watch how their Breathing Buddy moves up and down as they breathe in and out. Then, have them imagine that the thoughts in their mind turn into bubbles, and drift away until they are out of sight.
  • We might also do this meditation while tucking a child in for the night.
  • Pixie Dust Awareness. A simple bedtime meditation practice is to bring awareness, or attention to different areas of the body as we relax into sleep.
  • We can teach this to children by having them imagine magical golden pixie dust is being sprinkled on different parts of their body. For instance, “Now the magic golden pixie dust is being sprinkled on your tummy…feel how it’s relaxing your tummy.” Wait several moments, then move to a few more body areas.
  • This exercise teaches body awareness, gives kid’s minds something to focus on, and calms the body for restful sleep.
  • Take Five Breathing. Slowing down our breathing slows down our mind, so even simple breathing exercises can help minimize troubling thoughts, and the feelings they generate.
  • For this meditation, have children breathe-in to a slow count of five, and then breathe-out to a slow count of five. The five fingers can be used to help with the count. Once kids get the hang of this, they can also be asked to notice the air entering and leaving their nose, or their belly rising and falling as they breathe.

These simple meditations work for adults too, so while teaching our kids we are training ourselves—and if children see us using meditation to cope with life’s challenges it encourages them to do so as well.

Sources: Kaia Roman/mbgrelationships; Bess O'connor/Chopra; Sarah Herrington/mindbodygreen
Photo credit: mindbodygreen

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