Mindful Minis: Brands Adapting Meditation for Kids
Can you convince kids to meditate? Seeing a gap in the market, savvy brands are introducing thoughtful playtime workshops, cartoon-led meditations and in-school mindfulness pods to help Gen Alpha relax.
As detailed in Nurturing Mental Health, anxiety is rife in children and teens, fuelling interest in strategies for mental wellbeing. The percentage of American kids aged four to 17 who meditate regularly jumped from 0.6% in 2012, to 5.4% in 2017 (CDC, 2018). Simultaneously, there’s been a rise in mindful, screen-free toys, as highlighted in The Gen Alpha Moment.
- Serene Studio: Brooklyn’s new meditation studio Happinest hosts meditation workshops that use toys, books and movement to introduce children to mindfulness. Each session caters to a specific age group, from newborns to tweens, ensuring the classes acknowledge the challenges kids face at different stages of development.
- Airborne Anxiety Relief: In 2018, American airline JetBlue partnered with US/UK-based meditation app Headspace to add cartoon video meditations to its in-flight entertainment. Each one teaches a targeted skill, such as coping with fear of flying – potentially quelling in-flight tantrums.
- Teaching Tranquillity: Picture books are also introducing children to practical meditation techniques. American author Kira Willey’s 2017 book Breathe Like a Bear teaches meditations for managing difficult situations, like doing homework; and remembering positive moments, like drinking hot chocolate. Meanwhile, Irish teacher Louise Shanagher’s Mindfully Me books, published in March 2018, are supplemented with worksheets that teachers can use to introduce students to meditation.
- A Mindful Time-Out: Schools are teaching mindfulness with help from meditation apps like Calm, which offers a free educator edition used by 54,000 teachers worldwide (CNBC, 2018). Meanwhile, Longwood Primary Academy in Essex is one of the first UK schools to install meditation pods for student-led quiet time.