How Meditation Can Help Your Child’s ADHD
Attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common developmental disorders experienced in children. Unfortunately, there currently are limited options for safe and effective drug treatment. And even with suitable pharmacological interventions, many parents don’t like putting their young children on medications that may have nasty side effects.
There are, thankfully, other more natural treatment options, and meditation is one of the best.
Okay, I know you are probably thinking, “How on Earth am I supposed to get my hyperactive and impulsive kid to sit still long enough to meditate? If they could sit still, I wouldn’t be searching the internet for help with ADHD!” Fair enough. But allow me to explain.
Your Child’s Brain on ADHD
All people have thoughts and impulses that may not be that rational. You feel like ramming your car into the car that just took your parking spot, for instance. Luckily, most of us have a functioning pre-frontal cortex that keeps us in check and stops us from doing dangerous or unlawful impulsive behaviour.
Your child’s pre-frontal cortex is significantly impaired, so he or she cannot put the brakes on these impulses. An impulse makes itself known, and before your child knows what’s going on, they are acting on it. It happens fast!
Meditation Empowers Children with ADHD
What children with ADHD need more than a medication that will ‘calm them down is to become aware of their thoughts. By recognizing that he is not his thoughts but an individual simply having thoughts, he becomes empowered to self-regulate and make better choices.
Studies are now showing that mindful meditation can help children with ADHD:
- Reduce their feelings of stress and anxiety
- Reduce impulsive behaviour
- Improve concentration
- Reduce hyperactivity
- Improve self-esteem
Helping Your Child Get Started
The best way to get your child interested in meditation is to practice it yourself. Do some research and perhaps take a few classes yourself, so you fully understand what is involved.
You’ll also want to create a space in your home that is just for meditation. Choose a location where there will be no interruptions and encourage a sense of calm.
Be sure to start your child out nice and slow. The Chopra Center suggests one minute of meditation every year of your child’s age. All kids are different, so you may need to adjust for your kid. Your child may be 10, for example, but only be able to start doing 5 minutes. That’s fine, don’t push it – use the age suggestion as a starting point.
Lose any expectations you may have at the beginning. Most adults with fully-functioning pre-frontal cortexes have difficulty with meditation at first, so chances are your child will also. Do not become frustrated and yell at your child to “stop fidgeting.” This will only discourage both of you.
And finally, if they need encouragement to get started, feel free to use positive rewards. Allow them to choose what movie the family will watch or which board game they will play on the weekend.
Will getting your ADHD child to meditate be easy? You’d have an easier time putting a corset on a pig. That being said, it’s essential to keep at it because, eventually, you will see some beautiful changes in your child, which is priceless.