Why You Should Meditate With Your Kids

This post is sponsored by Headspace

Meditation is more popular than ever, and for good reason. It’s been proven to reduce stress, boost compassion, and improve focus. However, if the idea of sitting in silence for long periods of time makes you want to run for the hills, you’re in luck: There’s a fun app that will teach you how to meditate anywhere, anytime. Headspace is easy-to-use and chock full of guided meditations, brief exercises, and themed sessions to help even a novice cope with stressful situations. In fact, it’s so easy that kids can use it, and it turns out, they should use it! I recently attended an event here in New York City with Headspace that was all about mindfulness and parenting. Here’s what I learned.

meditation for kids
Learning about Headspace at their recent NYC event. Photo: Wini Lao

According to a new national survey of parents conducted in May 2018 by Momtrends Media, 40% of parents think summertime is the most stressful time of the year for their kids. Parents attribute this to changes in family routines, more activities in their schedules, and/or boredom, which all make total sense! Parents say what they really want is more time together as a family, and to establish new traditions.

meditation for kids
Chatting over lunch with Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe. Photo: Wini Lao

The simple answer to all of this is meditation. What’s more, at the event I attended, the founder of Headspace, Andy Puddicombe, and the chief science officer at Headspace, Dr. Megan Jones Bell, shared results from two studies they did on how meditation increases empathy and reduces the impulse for revenge and/or retaliation.

meditation for kids
Meditation can help ensure a less stressful summer. Photo: Wini Lao

Let me give you some examples of how we use meditation in our household:

My husband, Serge, started using Headspace first, but I was late to the game. I would try to meditate on and off on my own, but couldn’t stick with it. Then I started using the app and got hooked! When I updated to the premium subscription, I noticed there was a section for kids and after trying one of the sleep meditations with m girls, I realized how beneficial it was for all of us as a family. And it isn’t a chore for them, either; they genuinely love it! So now it’s a part of our nighttime routine, and they even ask to do extra meditations throughout the day! (Pro tip: It’s especially great to use with anxious travelers.)

meditation for kids
Pretty table setting at the Headspace lunch event. Photo: Wini Lao

The true test of meditation’s efficacy came recently when my 9-year-old daughter, Sean, had to go for a grueling, 5-hour-long exam to earn her junior black belt in karate. (If you’re unfamiliar, the exam consists of literally thousands of sit-ups, push-ups, burpees, jumping jacks, board-breaking, and sparring with the school’s strongest fighters, just to name a few!) I have never seen this child in a more panicked state than the night before that exam.

meditation for kids
Taking a moment to reflect. Photo: Wini Lao

To calm her down, we used Headspace to meditate. First, we went through the Panicking single. She was still very distraught, so we moved onto the Feeling Overwhelmed single. She was then able to lay by herself, so we did a 10-minute Sleep meditation. By then, she was sleeping soundly and woke up the next morning in high spirits. It was as if the previous night hadn’t even happened. She did an incredible job at her black belt test, showing amazing physical stamina as well as psychological grit.

meditation for kids
Photo: Wini Lao

Here are a few suggestions from Headspace on how to integrate meditation practices into your family’s daily routine:

  • Do a daily mediation together
  • Institute device-free dinners or a device-free game night.
  • Encourage mindful eating by discussing where the food came from and practicing gratitude for it.
  • Parents, jot down the things you especially love about your kids each night.
  • Take time to mindfully breathe together.
meditation for kids
Preparing for a group meditation with Andy. Photo: Wini Lao

Want to try Headspace yourself?

The team at Headspace was kind enough to give me a special offer to share with all of you. Click here to get one year of Headspace for 40 percent off! Make sure you sign up soon though, as this offer expires July 4, 2018.

meditation for kids
Seating area for our group meditation. Photo: Wini Lao

Instructions to upload the code:

Register and enter the promo code here: https://www.headspace.com/code. Once you log into the app on your phone, it will automatically connect to the subscription you just activated.

Why the code is useful:

  • It’s free to download but only the basic pack session is free. A subscription gives you access to the full Headspace Library, which has hundreds of meditations, mindfulness exercises and animations to help you build the practice.
  • Over 30 packs of themed meditations on specific topics like stress and sleep
  • Dozens of one-off exercises designed to add more mindfulness to your day
  • Super-short mini meditations you can do anytime.
  • Great for busy schedules
  • Sleep Sounds that help ease the mind into a truly restful night’s sleep
  • Animations that guide you through essential meditation techniques and bring to life traditional stories like the Very Impatient Yogi
  • Continued guidance from former monk, and Headspace co-founder, Andy Puddicombe
meditation for kids
Loved the beach-themed place settings at the event. Photo: Wini Lao

Parents, do you meditate with your children? If so, what are your tips for newcomers?

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About Carmen Sognonvi

Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel and lifestyle digital influencer at Top Flight Family. Her insights on travel have been featured in Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, Seatrade Cruise News and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

Click here to read Carmen's articles

Headspace makes it easy to meditation. So easy that kids can use it, and it turns out, they should use it! Here are tips on meditating with kids.

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