Micro Meditation for Anxious Kids

January 10, 2024
micro meditation for anxious kids, red hair girl sitting outside in grass with eyes closed

Anxiety is on the rise, in adults, and especially in children.

It’s a new pandemic of sorts. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 15% of youth globally experience a mental health disorder* before they are 19 years old.

Depression and anxiety are two of the leading causes in this startling, and very upsetting statistic.

Mental health disorders are no longer affecting adults and teenagers. Approximately 1 in 6 youth in the US have a mental health condition. Little ones, as young as preschool, are now facing mental health challenges, some which require hospitalization.

According to a study done in part by Dartmouth Health Children’s Hospital, pediatric mental health hospitalizations rose 26% between 2009 and 2019.

Many factors contribute to this alarming data. Mental health challenges were exacerbated during the pandemic, and still remain high. Added to this are risk factors like the rise of social media and the anxiety it causes, lack of proper sleep (which social media also negatively impacts) and conflicts between kids and their peers and within their families. 

Parents, too, are struggling, and may not have the bandwidth or ability to help their little ones. Even when they have the ability to afford mental health counseling for their children, it isn’t always available. Access to community based mental health treatment is not always available. Not all areas have mental health professionals, and there are not enough mental health professionals to meet the growing demand for services.

Meditation Can Help

The good news, amidst all these scary statistics is that mindfulness meditation can help. Countless research studies have proven, time and time again, that meditation can ease psychological distress.

Meditation is proven to:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • Decrease depression
  • Boost immunity
  • Improve restful sleep
  • Diminish a negativity bias
  • Foster feelings of positivity
  • Increase empathy and loving-kindness towards yourself and others

Up until quite recently, scientists have thought that meditation must be done for at least 30 minutes a day to achieve the above benefits.

For most people, children included, a 30 minutes a day meditation practice seems unrealistic, and so many scrap the idea of meditating altogether.

But here’s the good news: now scientists are saying that you don’t need 30 straight minutes of uninterrupted meditation time.

micro meditation, blue alarm clock

Introducing Micro Meditation:

Enter the new practice of micro meditation.

Like its name implies, micro meditation is a shortened form of meditation that is done in quick and easy 2-10 minute increments, throughout the day. The key is that the practice is repeated a few times a day, thus building a repetition of these micro boosts of meditation.

Even more good news: micro meditation can be any kind of meditation you or your little one likes to do. Some examples are:

  • Affirmation Meditations
  • Body Scans
  • Breathwork
  • Drumming Meditations
  • Guided Story Meditations
  • Mantra Meditations
  • Moving Meditations
  • Walking Meditations

Why Does Micro Meditation Work?

One of the reasons micro meditation is so effective is, because it is done in short bursts of repletion, it quickly becomes habit forming.

Anyone who has tried to adopt a healthy habit, like working out, or making healthy food choices knows, repetition is the key to success.

It usually takes at least 30 repetitions to make something part of your daily routine.

Researchers are discovering that these short bursts of micro meditation are just as beneficial as longer meditation practices.

Even better news, a recent study found that doing only 10 minutes of meditation a day was a beneficial as a 20 minute practice. This same study found that even 5 minutes of meditation was enough to improve heart rate and negative affect.

And just like the benefits of traditionally longer meditative practices, micro meditation offers participants the same benefits like:

  • Increased Immunity
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Better sleep
  • Increased Focus
  • Less negative affect

Micro Meditation and Anxious Kids

Most kids love to meditate because they enjoy using their imaginations and feeling the calming effects in their mind and body. Researchers are learning that kids who meditate experience many of the same benefits as adult meditators.

What’s even better, research is showing that a consistent meditation practice can help prevent children developing chronic mental health disorders.

Micro meditation is a perfect way to introduce children to meditation.

They can try a variety of meditation practices, in small bites, and become comfortable with and begin to experience all the benefits of meditation.

Once kids start feeling the reduction in anxiety, and the calm meditation brings them, they will want to practice it more and more.

Ways Kids Can Practice Micro Meditation

There are countless ways kids can practice micro meditation.

Remember, any type of meditation practice can be used, and it is easily adaptable.

Many kids gravitate towards the following types of meditation:

  • Moving meditations
  • Drumming Meditations
  • Visualization Meditations
  • Guided Meditations

Little ones especially enjoy guided micro meditations that they can do while listening to an audio. They can follow along and use their imaginations.

You can easily combine a simple breathwork meditation, like using a bubble wand or imaging their breath blowing clouds across the sky. Every time you combine physical practices with imaginative ones, little ones engage their minds and bodies.

micro meditation, cartoon dragon sitting on red hourglass.

Our Recommendation for Teaching Micro Meditation:

Wee Meditate

Wee Mediate has a collection of mini meditations designed to help young kids experience the benefits of meditation in a short amount of time.

Wee Meditate uses research based practices to teach meditation to children in a magical, imaginative and soothing story-book world. 

In this fairy tale world, kids learn to meditate with an adorable Dragon and his forest animal friends.

They have mini-meditations, longer meditations, bedtime stories, music and more.

By signing up for their free newsletter, Dragon’s Meditation Club, you’ll receive mini meditations, short stories, and poems that are written for, and meant to be read to kids.

You can also read more about micro meditation and why it’s a great practice for kids here.


Back to School Anxiety: How Meditation Can Help

Back to School Anxiety: How Meditation Can Help You see them in every store you enter: banners with words in big, bold letters: Back to School.  For some kids the endless rows of crayons, pencils, paper and backpacks signals a new year, fun with friends, and amazing adventures to be had. For many kids…most likely the majority…the start of a new year is filled with anxiety. It’s all the typical stressors of going back to school: new teachers, kids, routines and things to learn. But there’s more to the stress than just newness. It’s also the anxiety of living, day to day, that is affecting kids, and also adults. Anxiety Overload  Consider this: Our post-pandemic world is filled with increasing violence and more uncertainly than we, as adults have faced before. In fact, according the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people died in the US from suicide than any other year on record.  According to a survey conducted last fall conducted by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation “Nine out of 10 adults in the US think the country is experiencing a mental health crisis.”  There is a trickle-down effect: when adult’s mental health suffers, so does children’s. If adults cannot cope with anxiety, or are coping poorly, they are less likely to be offering the emotional support that anxious littles ones desperately need.  Mental health care is often not accessible, or affordable, for many. But there is good news: meditation, while not a mental health treatment per say, is a tool that many medical and mental health professionals use with their patients. And meditation is something that anyone can do anywhere, to bring a sense of calm to the chaos of daily living. Meditation and Mental Health Meditation is becoming such a big part of mental health that many major hospitals, around the world, are implementing it as part of their treatment plans. Major health systems, like The Mayo Clinic, The Cleveland Clinic, and Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals in London support meditation and mindfulness practices for their patients. Many child therapists, occupational therapists and social workers routinely teach their young clients how to use meditation and mindfulness for anxiety and other life challenges.  If your child is struggling with back to school anxiety and you’re looking for ways to help them with anxiety not only for this season, but for the rest of their life, consider introducing them to meditation.  Meditation for Back to School Anxiety Meditation can be a calming addition to their back to school routine, and is a skill that will benefit them for their entire life. Because there are so many meditation practices to choose from, you are sure to find a style of meditation that works for your child. From walking meditations, guided story meditations, mantra meditations, body scans and progressive muscle relaxation, to name just a few, there is a type of meditation that every child will love and look forward to doing.  Starting a meditation practice can seem overwhelming. You probably have a lot of questions:   How do I teach my child how to meditate?  What kind of meditation should my child practice?  How long should my child meditate?  What if my child isn’t doing it right?  Happily there is no one right answer to any of these questions.  While a meditation practice is beautifully different for every practitioner, it can still be hard to know where to begin. Introducing meditation to kids Like most parents, you’re busy. Back to school means shopping for supplies, new shoes, and filling out endless forms. Teaching your child meditation sounds nice, and you believe it’s probably also very helpful, but who needs another chore on the never-ending list of back to school tasks?  If you’d like a guide along the way, or better yet, a magical Dragon to teach your child how to meditate in a storybook world, let me introduce you to Wee Meditate.  Created by a special education teacher and a meditation teacher, Wee Meditate makes it simple and easy to bring the calm of meditation to your child and to your family.  Wee Meditate is a digital meditation platform that teaches meditation to all children. With inclusive and representative characters, Wee Meditate makes meditation accessible, and fun, for all children through their guided story meditations, bedtime stories, mini meditations, music and more.  Just click “Play” and Wee Meditate takes it from there, providing your child with hours of screen-free content that can be listened to anytime, anywhere. (For children who are deaf, there are signed and captioned videos of content so they don’t miss a thing.)  For more ways to use meditation to manage back to school anxiety head over to their learning hub or preview their content here. Wee Meditate’s Back to School Sale is on now. For a limited time you can grab a membership for your little one and save 15% with the code B2SWD15.…

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