Meditation and ADHD. Yeah right, you might say, “there is no way my child will sit still that long!”
Well, I can tell you that it definitely can be done so if you are even a tiny bit interested in meditation then it is time to try it.
I have always dabbled in meditation myself on and off but this year I have decided to do it more and brought my son along for the ride.
I actually started this with him last year after I went to a conference and sat in a session where the speaker was talking about the benefits of meditation and brain function, specifically ADHD.
It started one day in a coffee shop where my son was bouncing around the place and wouldn’t sit still, I said to him “do you want to try something for me?” He said yes, so we sat in the middle of a coffee shop with his eyes closed and I talked him through a meditation. Afterwards he had said that in his mind he went to a fun place and it was really good.
Now to be honest the meditation on that day only lasted about 2 minutes if I was lucky and he was then moving around again. But it was a great place to start!
This year we are both now meditating almost every night and he is loving it. We are now up to 20 – 30 minutes per night to help him go to sleep. It is a great alternative to melatonin. Don’t get me wrong, I still have to use melatonin some nights but we have significantly reduced its use.
Side note: I don’t have anything against melatonin at all, I just wanted to teach my son a different strategy to fall asleep aside from “taking something”.
Meditation can help all of us and there is much research around that and I can say from my own experience that it has certainly changed the way I do things. However, for ADHD specifically it can have some great benefits such as:
- Increases attention abilities
- Reduces stress
- Sharpens Executive Function
- A break from the outside world which can sometimes be tough for them.
- Self regulation
- Self awareness
- Teaches strategies to calm the mind.
But where do you start, you might ask? Well, first of all don’t expect huge meditations times as that is very unlikely to happen first up, start very small. This is a new thing for most children starting meditation and as we all know ADHD brains work on fast forward so it will take time to teach it to slow down.
There are a number of different ways you can do it, you can listen to some YouTube videos for kids mediation and they will guide your child through it. There are short ones that go for about 3 – 5 minutes right up to the longer versions which are 30 minutes or more.
My biggest tip though when you are introducing this is just lie on the floor or bed with your child and tell them to slowly breath in and out and concentrate on their breath. To start it is fine if they are moving their body, just have them focus on their breathing. Guide them verbally through breathing in and out while reminding them to bring their focus back to their breathing. Their minds will wander off and this is fine, just continue to remind them.
Start with 2 minutes if you think this is all they will manage and congratulate them for getting through this.
Build up over time when you sense your child is ready for more time.
Meditation is a learned skill, even as adults we can struggle with our wandering thoughts and this is perfectly OK.
Meditation is such as important skill to teach our children and if they can use that into adulthood you have provided them with some amazing skills for the future.
We will be including meditation in our coaching sessions for our children, so we will see how that goes.
I will keep you posted.
Until next time, get in a comfy position and meditate, it will seriously change your perspective on life!