According to the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health, about 927,000 American children practice meditation. The agency is cautioning parents and guardians that with so many different types of meditation, most have never been tested for safety or effectiveness for children.
Yet, there are cases when children are encouraged to meditate quietly in school, like the junior class of Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C. In this school, teenagers are taught mindfulness meditation with the purpose of helping them handle stress better, more focused, and less risk of “acting out negative feelings.” The schools are reporting that the children tend to be less anxious and perform better in class, but critics say it could also be because the children are given a chance to rest and take a break from a busy schedule. Both agree that the concept is experimental.
Parents should understand that mindfulness meditation is rooted in Buddhism and other eastern religions. It was even used once in Sesame Street to teach children how to focus on breathing and decrease stress. However, based on a study published in the Jama Internal Medicine journal in 2014, mindful meditation delivers similar results as muscle relaxation exercises and physical exercise with the exception for troubled children who appear to benefit most from the “quiet time.”
Meditation or Prayer?
If you have to make a choice what to teach your children, prayer would be the wiser option. Prayer turns to God for strength, protection, happiness, blessings, grace, wisdom, and courage – these are tools your children will need to face the world as they grow up and come across worldly challenges. Meditation is a form of prayer when done with Godly purpose. It does not have to conflict with prayer unless you allow your child to do transcendental meditation, New Age, or other similar types of meditation that runs contrary to God’s teachings. Keep in mind that mindfulness is another religious practice that teaches that everyone is a god. The Bible teaches us that as children of God, we can never be equal to God because we are God’s creation. Furthermore, the Bible has never taught us to “clear our minds” and so we should not teach it to our children lest they be swayed towards a different belief altogether.
To help your child with prayerful meditation, you can give him or her one of our GOGpillow tools with verses or words printed on them to help them stay on track. Training your children to stay on the Godly path is the best gift you can give them because it is a gift that keeps giving.