The benefits of meditation for school-aged children

Jamie Watkins, co-founder of meditation app Samten Junior, details the benefits of regular meditation on children’s emotional, mental and intellectual development

During the Covid-19 pandemic, concerns about mental health have grown significantly, with the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showing that depression rates have doubled since the pandemic began.

Vulnerable groups such as children have been particularly affected. Whilst some young people have enjoyed being off school during government-enforced lockdowns, others have really struggled, with school closures keeping them at home and away from friends. Some will also have been dealing with family issues, loss or changes to their living situations.

Even now, with nationwide and local restrictions being regularly reviewed and eased, many children are still having to self-isolate because of coronavirus outbreaks in their schools and may be worried about getting or passing on the virus.

Therefore, it is more important than ever to support school-aged children emotionally and help them cope with the problems they face.

One of the best ways we can prioritise children’s mental health throughout the pandemic and beyond is by encouraging them to engage in meditation practice – a thought process where the mind goes into a state of consciousness.

The mental and physical benefits of meditation are now widely recognised, not only for adults, but children too, and regular practice has several beneficial effects on our children’s emotional, mental and intellectual development.

Reduced anxiety

Teaching children to slow down and meditate throughout the day can help reduce anxiety, and deep breathing helps their body to understand they do not need to be in fight or flight mode. It gives them an opportunity to recentre and know that they are safe and can be calm.

For children with anxiety, meditation can help them become more self-aware, and can show them how to focus on their emotions and express them in a controlled and healthy way, enabling them to develop a more proactive approach to being, rather than a reactive one.

De-stressing for academic success

Meditation can also have a profound impact on a child’s academic success. Studying and achieving at school can be one of the biggest sources of stress for young people, but meditation gives them freedom from the negative effects of stress. It gives them an expansive and relaxed way of thinking which can help bring creativity and clarity.

Distracting thoughts can also be a constant challenge for children’s focus in school, but by knowing how to calm their busy minds through meditation, they can be better equipped to absorb information in the classroom and focus on the task at hand.

Supporting healthy emotional development

Emotional stability is essential for healthy growth, but it is common for children to struggle with their emotions as they go through the developmental stages.

Regular meditation can help them easily navigate these phases without too much distress and can allow them to return to their natural rhythm and cope with the emotions of frustration and fear – something that is particularly important as we continue to work through the pandemic.

Meditation helps balance the whole system by supporting children’s emotional development and gives rest to the mind so that they are not overwhelmed by their strong feelings.

Promoting good quality sleep

Children are just as susceptible to the pitfalls of a stressful day as adults, and many lie awake at night, unable to ‘switch off’ and let go of their racing thoughts. This, coupled with the growing consumption of television, mobile phones and other digital technology, can have a negative impact on their sleep patterns, and a lack of sleep can greatly affect their mental wellbeing.

Getting children to follow a guided meditation at bedtime is a great way to help them slow down and prepare for sleep. In fact, according to a study by Stanford University School of Medicine, learning to meditate and other mindfulness techniques can help children sleep for more than an extra hour every night.


The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is having a significant effect on our mental health, and children are no exception.

It is our responsibility to prioritise young peoples’ mental wellbeing and give them the tools to cope with the challenges they face, not just due to the pandemic, but generally in modern day life.

Meditation is a vital component in enabling children to work through daily stressors and, by encouraging them to practice each day, even for a as little as five minutes, we can give them a powerful way to manage themselves and healthy coping mechanisms that they can use for the rest of their lives.

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