Meditation Increases Focus & Concentration in Children

Meditation increases focus and concentration




You may look at meditation as a form of “mental exercise” that alters the level of consciousness of your by mind bringing your mind inward into your inner self.

Whatever that means…basically, it means shutting down the outside and stay inside, if you understand what I mean.

To me, being in a meditative state is like being in my own “Anna’s in the Wonderland”. You’ll kind of in between being awake and asleep.

It’s abstract…you have to try it to understand.

The practice of meditation has been around for over two thousand years, originating in countries in Southeast Asia. It has always been associated with religious rituals.

It is, in some ways, like prayers or religious chants, except that it has no religious boundaries. Anyone can practice this mental art form regardless of faith or belief.

The goal is to redirect one’s attention toward one’s inner self. It is a very spiritual and personal experience. It is a very unusual and mind-changing experience. Its experience is almost like a paradox – you’re supposed to not focus on anything, but the experience itself increases your awareness of your universe, which all of us are connected to. If you have not meditate before, I highly recommend that you try it.

I remember one time I was meditating after a group yoga lesson. It was only 10 minutes meditation at the end. My father has just passed away a few months early. All of the sudden I felt a very strong feeling that I missed my father, and felt this overwhelming sadness. Tears started pouring from my eyes and I just could not stop crying. It was a very strange feeling. It seemed like the meditating somehow allow my mind to finally relax and let the bottled emotions escaped.

It has many physiological benefits, and increasing focus and concentration is one of them. Thousands of researches and studies have shown the benefit of meditation and its effects on metabolism, blood pressure, brain activation, and other bodily processes. Scientists are interested in exploring its mechanism and benefits. However, after years of scientific studies we still have no knowledge of the exact mechanism of how the practice condones all these physiological benefits.

The most fascinating thing is that meditation can alter brain waves and brain activities. Now that we know our brain is capable of remodeling or rewiring itself throughout life.

It is a very calming and refreshing experience. Many description of meditation involves some kind of mental engagement that requires a lot of focus and concentration. And focus and concentration is what many children with ADHD are lacking. However, it does not mean meditation is impossible.

Start by looking at it as “quiet time”. Even if your child can’t sit with their eyes close for 5 minutes. Have them start by being quiet for 5 minutes, not making any noise or big movements. They can play with their stuffed animals, draw, or whatever they want. You can also play some soothing music in the background.

You can also do the “quiet time” right before bed. Snuggle with your child, read a story and kiss him or her good night. Then turn off the lights. Some children have difficulty falling asleep. Be firm and tell your child he or she has to stay in the dark room and not make noise. OK night light is allowed. Most children will eventually fall asleep.

 

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If your child has difficulty with falling asleep at night, you might want to look into Epsom salt bath and/or melatonin at bedtime. Both of these can help children with ADHD to wind down and be ready for bed.

The Epsom salt bath can help calm the body, and the sulfate in Epsom salt helps to improve the body’s detoxification system. Melatonin is a natural sleeping aid. It is suspected that children with ADHD have a natural tendency to not produce enough melatonin at night, when they need it most to fall asleep.

When we first started trying meditation, my daughter did not like it. Just the thought of sitting down and doing nothing for 5 minutes sounds like torture to her. She was 10 years old, so it is still quite easy to persuade her to do it. She would set her own timer on her watch, which gives her some feeling of control. We try to do it everyday, but of course it’s hit or miss.

After meditating several times, my daughter did acknowledge some benefits, such as feeling calmness, refreshed, and increased alertness which helps to clear her mind for mentally-demanding tasks. Now she does not fight me as much if I ask her to meditate before she tackles her homework. Yet, 5 minutes is still what she is up for.

For starter, aim for five minutes or less, something that you know your child can easily handle. Be sure to make it fun, otherwise, they are not going to do it again. I used to snuggle with my daughter in her bed at bedtime, then I would let her put one of her favorite stuffed animal on her belly while she is lying on her back.

I would ask her to take deep breaths until she sees her stuffed animal rises and falls on her belly. This helps to teach her the breathing part of the practice. The trick is taking long deep breaths that fill up the belly. Slowly you can add the counting from 1-10 to make the breaths longer.




Author: Anna

I’m a board-certified Pediatric Nutritionist, who takes care of medically-fragile infants and children in the US Defense System; I’m mother of a teenager and a real estate investor. I love spending time with friends and family playing tennis, golf, hiking and stand-up-paddling. And we live in Honolulu, Hawaii.