Does Meditation Work for Wily Toddlers?

April Peveteaux

toddler meditationAnother new parenting trend is on the rise! The Daily Beast explored what the heck is going on with toddler meditation sweeping the nation. Furthermore, is it accurate to say that these youngsters are meditating, or just being still?

Meditation consists of clearing your mind for a period of time. Stillness and relaxation are some of the goals in this ancient practice that has traditionally been more popular in Eastern cultures. However, since toddler meditation classes are popping up in the U.S., you might want to bone up on your ohm if you've got a high-strung tot.

“From 2 to 6, children undergo many changes and have little control over their environments,” says Dr. Jennifer L. Hartstein, a child and family psychologist. “Sometimes, their problematic behaviors are directly linked to that.” Although Hartstein says flat-out that “not all kids will be able to do meditation,” she’s found that “many kids” can “learn meditative breathing techniques that will help them regulate and not lose control.”

I recently started meditating myself, and it's a challenge for me to do a daily 5-minute stint. However, this piece also says children can make great partners for beginning meditation as we're kind of in the same place. My own daughter needs to learn how to calm herself, and I suppose on some level I do too. Heck, if nothing else, a practice encouraging quiet time would be a welcome change in my high decibel house.

While Deepak Chopra doesn't recommend meditation until age 8, I gave it a whirl with my 4-year-old who cannot sit still for 1 second, much less 5 minutes. I was surprised not only by her willingness, but her enthusiasm to do this with me on a regular basis. As she said, "I want to relax again." She also said meditating felt like "putting eye shadow on my eyes." Perhaps that's her equivalent to my lying on the massage table. Both things we want, but know we cannot have. At least not as often as we would like.

Whether or not this practice results in a more composed child in the grocery store when denied ice cream sandwiches remains to be seen. But I guarantee you if I see a marked difference after we get this meditation ball rolling, her brother's going to be on the floor cushion next to her in about six months.

Would you try to get your toddler to meditate?


Image via mikebaird/Flickr

Read More