Lockdown and Teaching Meditation to Children

By Dr Balvinder Khaira

Meditation in children is a growing field of interest and research. There is emerging evidence that it improves attention, improves learning and information retention, improves self-awareness and by that regard the ability to self regulate, it also is linked to enhanced social-emotional development, especially kindness and empathy.
Some schools have introduced meditation programs instead of detention and found it lowers aggressive behaviour while also giving children a reprieve from external traumatic and chaotic environments.
During the recent lockdown, I have been experimenting with teaching my 5-year-old meditation. It is a delicate process as we have to be vigilant that we don’t create any aversion or misunderstanding towards meditation. However, it is an excellent antidote to the uncertainty, confusion, loneliness and increased stress children could be going through at this time.
There are a couple of great programs, online meditations and apps that could be useful (please see the links below).
I think the most important (and challenging) thing for parents would be to create the space and time to practice meditation and to also engage with these exercises themselves, as a shared experience. I would suggest using a gradual and playful introduction and keep persisting.
After some gentle perseverance over the last six months, my 5-year-old now requests the “sitting still like a frog” guided meditation every night, and he knocks right out.
Please note that meditation in children can be quite a complicated endeavour; it is vital to practice yourself as a parent, seek out reading material and get advice along the way.
There is also a meditation studio in West Footscray which holds weekly zoom meditations during this COVID period by donation, please see http://www.dharmacircle.com.au/