Health and Well-Being: What Happens When Kids Meditate

Meditation has been proven to have emotional, social, and personal life-changing effects and positive impacts on one’s health and well-being.

There hasn’t been as much research done on the benefits of meditation on kids as there have been on adults. Nonetheless, existing studies on kids who practice meditation are continuing to emerge. Here’s what has been studied to happen when kids meditate:

Increased Attention and Improved Behaviors

A 2004 Sage Journals study revealed that children with ADHD who practiced meditation both in a clinical setting and at home had better concentration at school. In another study in 2013, an eight-week study was conducted on boys with ADHD who trained in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy such as meditation to reduce their hyperactive behaviors. The results showed an improvement in concentration and reduction in anxiety levels.

An Escape from External Trauma

Adults aren’t the old ones who suffer from anxiety and depression. For many reasons, children deal with major stressors that result from trauma or unhappy homes. When kids live in bad situations, they often bring negative emotions with them to school, which often leads to misbehavior or the inability to pay attention in class.

The Holistic Life Foundation in Baltimore is a non-profit organization committed to nurturing the wellness of children and adults in underserved communities. They help children develop their inner lives through yoga and mindfulness. Ali Smith, co-founder of the Holistic Life Foundation shares, “We always assume that kids have been through something, because we don’t always know what’s going on. Sometimes they don’t even know.”

“So we always do movement first, then breath work, then meditation. We never just walk into a room and say, ‘hey, kids, let’s meditate.’ That empty space isn’t good for trauma.”

They remind teachers to be conscientious about what could be going on with the kids’ lives outside of school so that they can tailor their meditation programs accordingly.

Creativity

Kids are creative by nature. However, there are factors that can stifle their creativity. Psychologists at Leiden University discovered an increase in creativity in their participants who practiced short meditation exercises.

In another study conducted by Cornell University students, a significant increase in pictorial and verbal creativity was shown in their participants after a few months of meditation practice.

Social and Emotional Development

According to Yoga 4 Classrooms founder Lisa Flynn, “Kids who practice yoga, meditation and mindfulness build skills of attention, self awareness, self management leading to more responsible decision making and pro-social behavior.”

“It’s no surprise that studies show that these kids are, in general, happier, more resilient children. They have a solid sense of self and are more connected to, and respectful of, others and the world around them. The result? Kinder, more compassionate kids!”