Meditation has tremendous benefits for kids with ADHD, but how can we convince them to sit still?
Kids with ADHD like to do things…lots of things…all at the same time. Getting these kids to devote a few minutes to “focus on breathing” will make you seem like an alien from a distant world, but the reward is worth the effort.
My kids have gotten to the age where parents know nothing, so I knew I needed help. First, I asked them if they would give me 4 minutes to watch a video. After 8 minutes of complaining, I had them watching this great video that introduces the concept of meditation for kids with ADHD. Once the video was finished, I had them at least committing to “think about meditating”. Two days later, one kid was still thinking about it, while the other kid had thought about it, and decided not to. OK, some progress but not what I had in mind…still more work to do.
I found some great tips from some terrific sources, and while my progress is still ongoing, I wanted to share these tips with everyone from my first few days on the job.
- Don’t call it meditation. Call it “sitting down and breathing” or “relaxing” or “focusing on nothing”.
- Start slow. Asking for a full-blown meditation on day one may be too much, So just have them focus on breathing for 30 seconds. And don’t do this only when things are crazy (because it might not be the best time). Try it at different times. Maybe during dinner, or when they’re in the car, or right before bed, or during quiet time…mix it up and see what works for you.
- Don’t meditate together. Give them their own space and place to try it out. Doing it together will make it seem like a chore, and we want it to be viewed as a good thing.
- Practice what you preach. If you want them to meditate, make sure you meditate.
- Expect the unexpected. If you’re reading this, you probably live with someone that has ADHD, so the unorthodox is orthodox already. Maybe the session will last 45 seconds. Maybe your kid will be walking, or rolling around…that’s OK. Any meditation is good meditation.
- Try some guided meditation. “Focus on nothing” is an odd concept for a kids, especially kid that focuses on everything at the same time. YouTube and HeadSpace have some great introductory guided meditation tools. It might be easier to have them initially focus on someone’s voice that guides them through it.
This should be enough to get you started, but this article has a lot more details and tips for teaching your ADHD child meditation. Once you’re in the swing of it, this article will put you in a very spiritual mood. And here’s one more article about meditation for children if you want to keep studying.