So far, we’ve reviewed the benefits of meditation for children, including progressive relaxation exercises focusing on the breath. Now, it’s time to move on to seated meditation.

Older children may be ready to sit down, rather than lie down, while they meditate. Regular practitioners find that sitting quietly two times a day is ideal. The best times are sunrise and sunset, so your child can begin and end each day with calmness and focus. Have him start with five minutes per session. Gradually, he can extend those sittings to 15-20 minutes a session or more.

You will find that as the weeks and months go by, your child will be able to enter deeper and deeper stages of meditation faster and faster. You will also be amazed at how relaxed and refreshed your child – and you – will feel after even a short session of meditation.

  1. Sit comfortably on the floor on cushions or pillows, or in a chair. Make sure the spine is as straight and elongated as possible. Though you want a straight back, you do not want to make yourself or any part of your body stiff or tense. Tell your child to imagine an invisible string stretching from his toes right through the top of his head, and to imagine gently pulling that string upward. Tell him to open his chest so he can breathe freely.
  2. To keep the mind steady and focused on one point, you must keep the body steady as well. Let your child know he should decide not to move any part of his body during meditation. This decision has to be very strong, and made clearly to his body, if it is expected to work.
  3. If your child wants to keep his eyes open, tell him to let his eyes settle on a point several feet in front of him at eye level. Some people find it easiest to focus on a blank wall; others prefer a visual form, such as the flame of a candle or a picture of an abstract shape that is soothing but not distracting. If your child prefers closing his eyes, you might try to have him focus on a point right between his eyebrows (some call it “the third eye”) so that his eyes look straight out or slightly upward, but not down. Tell him he is aiming to direct his attention inward.
  4. Next focus on breathing. Your child will want to take slow, deep breaths, making breathing as regular as possible. Follow the flow of air, in and out. You can say, “Feel how cool the breath is as you inhale, and how warm it is as you exhale. Pay attention to your breath and all other thoughts will recede.” Calm, slow breathing will relax the body and keep the mind steady and calm, as well.
  5. Your child may find that as he listens to his breathing, he may begin to hear a hum, a musical note within. Let him know that this hum or inner vibration is said to put one in tune with the rhythm of the earth. If he can hear it and feel it, he will find it very peaceful and comforting. Your child may start to feel a part of something larger than himself. Do not be concerned if he does not feel this way immediately, as this experience may take quite some time devoted to meditation.
  6. Your child might want to repeat a single syllable (or mantra). It’s easiest to use something that does not have associations with other things, so he will not be further distracted. Common choices (the universal syllables) are “Om” or “Amen” or “One.”
  7. When your child repeats a mantra or sacred word, have him start by saying it out loud but soon progress to simply repeating it in his mind, not out loud. Tell him to try to feel the hum of repeating the word or mantra that will carry over even when he repeats the word silently. He has to draw his mind inward to be able to achieve this effect.
  8. A word on the “monkey mind.” As you and your child proceed through the steps outlined here, you may find that his mind will wander. He may think about things that happened to him today or last week, he may start to feel itches or aches and pains that tempt him to move and adjust position. His mind may flit from one thing to another, like a monkey jumping from branch to branch in a tree. It is only human to find that despite our best efforts to concentrate, our everyday concerns (thoughts about friends, homework, dinner) pop up to distract us. It happens to everyone – it is so common there is a name for it in meditation: it is called the “monkey mind.”

What you must help your child do, each time he becomes aware of the mind wandering off down a distant path, is to bring himself back to the single point of attention. Reassure him: “Do not be disappointed if you find it very difficult to still the mind. Don’t chastise yourself. And don’t feel defeated.” Bringing the mind back, again and again, deepens concentration. The more he does it, the better he will be at stilling the monkey mind and increasing the periods of concentration.

It may help to have your child think of these thoughts almost as if they were uninvited visitors to into his room. Suggest to him: “If you get angry and tell them to “Get Out,” they may just stay out of spite. Or they may leave, but slam the door as they go. Either way, you enter into a struggle of wills that only further upsets your peace of mind. So it is better to simply acknowledge its presence and then go back to your peaceful focus on one point or your mantra. Soon that uninvited thought will realize that now is not a good time to visit, and it will leave.”

If, however, that distraction persists again and again, you might need a different tactic. Your child might try inviting the distraction into his meditation. Tell him to say, “Visitor, you are welcome to join my meditation.” Then there is no tension and his energy is not diverted; he can go back to his meditation.

In the next post in this blog series, I’ll share the importance of creative visualization in the meditation process. If you would like more resources to help guide you and your child through meditation, please visit my website, where you can download several audio recordings and read more articles about the benefits of meditation for children.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.