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Try meditation to improve your kids' concentration

FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2016 10:26 AM

Kids have a lot of energy. Many of them experience difficultly reining in their thoughts and movements to pay attention in class. This can make focusing on a particular task or topic difficult. If your kids have a hard time concentrating on their homework, imagine what it's like for them to sit down to an hour-long test like the Common Core State Standards exams. To help your children improve their concentration, try these meditation tips at home:

Sit still
Just like many other activities, staying in one place can take practice. Kids who typically run all over the place tend to have a rough time trying to be still during testing and regular class. This is why you should help them prepare by sitting still together. Set up a meditation area, complete with pillows to rest on and relaxing scents like lavender or sandalwood. Have your children grab spots on the cushions and then set a timer for 1 minute. It's always better to start with shorter periods, as they are more attainable and will not discourage your children. Try this practice several times a day. Soon you can bump up the timer to 3 and then 5 minutes. Your whole family may eventually enjoy being still together for 30 minutes or more. Your kids' grades may improve as they learn the art of concentration and how to quiet their bodies to focus their minds.

Use guided visualization
One of the reasons many kids can't fathom staying in one place for more than 5 minutes is because they get bored. To keep your children on track, follow guided visualizations. You can locate examples on iTunes or even YouTube. Or lead your kids through a version of your own. Common options include:

  • Walk through the woods and notice the light, creatures and plants around you. Hear the birds calling and the wind rustling the leaves. 
  • Imagine a light growing in your belly. This light takes over your body, filling you with warmth as it pours into the room. It envelopes your whole house, town, community and country. Eventually, it coats the entire world. Now swim back through the light to your house where you sit.
  • Sit near a stream watching each thought float by on a leaf. Instead of dwelling on each thought, pluck it out of your head and place it on a passing leaf. Let it go and continue the process.

Turn to music
Any sound can be a distraction as kids try to meditate to improve their focus. You may find that listening to music can cut out the background noises of the neighborhood. Avoid music that makes your kids want to dance, or they'll have a really hard time sitting still! Many people enjoy listening to soft tunes without words, quiet chanting or even nature sounds that fit in with their visualizations. Trickling waterfalls, chirping birds or mountain breezes are all helpful for setting the scene going on in your kids' heads as they meditate.