I love using short guided meditation for students in my classrooms. If you’re wondering if your kids can handle meditation, I assure you, they absolutely can. My elementary students did wonderfully with meditation. One of them would even spontaneously put his hands together in a meditation pose. He loved it, and it did help him calm down. Here are my tips for having a successful meditation with your class. Meditation does not have to be woo-woo or religiously based. It’s a way to calm your mind and body. Even your brain waves change when you reach a meditative state.
You can get a free copy of a two minute guided meditation I made. It’s short, sweet, and specific. It’s perfect for even elementary age students. I hope it brings calm to your classroom.
1. Dim the Lights for Guided Meditation
Changing the lighting in the room changes the whole mood of the room. When I would do meditation with my students, I would turn off the overhead lights. I would then put a meditation video on the smart board. I encourage students to close their eyes, but I also don’t make a big deal about them closing their eyes. Some kids who have had trauma in their lives may not feel comfortable closing their eyes for a meditation. In that case, encourage them to let their eyes go soft, looking in one place without focusing.
2. Get It On The Schedule
I like to schedule meditation time for times of the day when I know my kids can use some simmering down. Meditation becomes easier and easier when it’s done regularly. Some of the best times are the very beginning of the day as part of your morning routine, after lunch and recess, and after specials. One of my favorite memories of elementary school was when my 3rd grade teacher would have us rest with our heads down after recess as part of our routine. It helped all of us wind down. After a few minutes of rest, she would read aloud to us. It still gives me the warm and fuzzies to this day.
3. Chart it Out
When beginning a meditation practice in your classroom, it can be helpful to go over the expectations just like you do with beginning of the year rules. First, demonstrate to the class what meditation is. Then foster a discussion about what meditation looks like, sounds like, and feels like. Then talk about what it does not look, sound, and feel like. Create a visual chart in your classroom with both words and illustrations on how to meditate. You can even have students sign the page before you post it on the wall. It gets buy in from the students, and gives you a visual you can silently point to if a student is off task during the meditation.
4. Make Meditation Part of Your Calming Station
Whether you call it a Cool Down Spot, Antarctica, or something else, give students the option to meditate in this area of your classroom. Including guided meditation for students on a CD player or even a tablet can help kids practice self-regulation with the structure of a guide. Do make sure you review any and all meditation practices that you allow in your classroom. Don’t just go on YouTube and let them find meditation videos. You could get into trouble easily that way.
5. Keep Practicing Meditation In Your Class
Meditation is a practice, and one I work on daily. Meditation doesn’t have to be perfect to be helpful. Your kids likely will laugh a bit at first. I had a wonderful principal who had the staff meditate as a demonstration, and even the adults were giggling. Meditation takes time to establish. Let go of the idea of perfection with meditation. There is no such thing. Just today I accidentally fell asleep during my meditation. Oops! I must have gotten a little too relaxed. But it’s OK. Meditation isn’t a competition. It doesn’t matter if Ms. So-and-So down the hall has students who do fancy yoga poses while they do meditation. Implement what you feel comfortable with committing to, and no more. You are free to choose the way meditation looks in your classroom.
Social Emotional Learning Through Guided Meditation
Short Guided Meditation for Students is a quick way to impart important lessons to your students. It’s great for Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) on how to self-regulate. It helps kids learn to calm down their minds and bodies on their own. The words in the guided meditations they use can become scripts they remember to calm themselves down without a guide. Researchers have known for a long time that guided meditation is an intervention that helps with behavior in students with disabilities, according to a review of literature from 1985. I found this article using Google Scholar which is my favorite fast way to research interventions. Otherwise I use my library’s data base to journal articles. The update to IDEA law in 2004 states we are charged with,”the use of scientifically based instructional practices.” Use guided meditation with confidence in your classroom. It’s backed by years of research. It’s time more classrooms use it.