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Meditation is a popular mind-body practice that has been around for thousands of years and can help reduce stress and promote calm. Meditation may be beneficial for people of all ages, including kids.

According to data from the 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the number of children practicing meditation in the United States increased significantly between 2012 and 2017.

This article looks at some of the child-specific benefits of meditation. It also lists some kid-friendly meditation apps to try.

A quick look at the best places to find meditation for kids

Meditation has many potential benefits for people of all ages. These include:

Some researchers have looked into the benefits of meditation, specifically for children.

A 2018 study found that mindfulness-based school interventions can help students handle stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. The researchers also note that mindfulness meditation can improve cognitive function and emotional well-being.

Individuals with anxiety may have difficulty concentrating and develop irritability.

According to a 2017 study, the use of mindfulness and yoga is increasing for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a neurodevelopment condition that causes attention problems. One study suggests that mindfulness-based interventions, such as yoga, can help reduce attention problems in children and adolescents.

It is important to note that the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health caution people against replacing conventional treatments with meditation. This advice applies to people of all ages.

There are several different types of meditation, all of which usually involve similar elements. These include:

  • a quiet space with limited distractions
  • a comfortable position
  • a particular focus of attention
  • an open attitude from the person meditating

Some forms of meditation that may be suitable for young people include:

  • Mindfulness meditation: This type of meditation often uses breathing exercises to help focus the mind. It can also involve a person focusing their attention on a particular body part or sound.
  • Guided meditation: With this type of meditation, the person meditating listens to a guide, teacher, or practitioner — either in person or via an audio recording. Some forms of guided meditation have a specific purpose, such as helping with insomnia or anxiety.
  • Mantra meditation: This kind of meditation involves repeating a specific word or saying, sometimes out loud. Om is a common mantra that people often chant at the start and end of their yoga practice. Repeating the phrase as part of meditation helps focus the mind and limit distracting thoughts.

Appropriate forms of meditation and the optimal length of practice may vary depending on the age of the child. It may take some experimentation for young people to find a style of meditation that suits them.

Younger children can find it challenging to focus for a long time, so short sessions may be best.

Yoga is another practice that sometimes involves meditation or reflective elements. According to the 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 8.4% of children in the U.S. practiced yoga in 2017.

Learn more about different types of meditation here.

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Various meditation apps are available on the market, including options specifically for kids. Below is a list of some of the most popular meditation apps for young people.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best for multiple age groups: Headspace

  • Price: from $5.83–12.99 per month
  • Pro: includes sessions for multiple age groups
  • Con: may be too structured for more experienced people

Headspace is a popular meditation app. It includes an extensive library of guided meditations.

Meditation themes for kids include calm, focus, kindness, sleep, and waking up.

Guided sessions, breathing exercises, and visualizations are available for multiple age groups. These age groups include 5 years and under, 6–8 years, and 9–12 years.

Headspace highlights the importance of starting meditating at an early age. It believes that it helps children communicate more effectively with their classmates and manage their emotions.

Furthermore, the website offers articles that provide information on coping with change, reducing stress, or improving sleep.

The Headspace app is suitable for people new to meditation. Those with more experience may find the sessions too structured or geared toward beginners.

Best for beginners: Calm

  • Price: $69.99 per year, one-time purchase $399.99
  • Pro: offers stories tailored for children
  • Con: mainly offers story-based meditation

Calm offers a variety of resources for young people, including a series of meditations specifically for those under the age of 18 years.

The “Calm Kids” section of the app includes beginner meditations, some of which are as short as 2 minutes. The app also features a series of sleep stories to help lull kids to sleep. These also include stories about popular TV and film characters.

A person can choose an annual subscription for $69.99 per year or a one-time purchase that offers lifetime access to all Calm features for $399.99.

Best for problem-solving skills: Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame

  • Price: free
  • Pro: offers everyday challenges to help children manage stressful situations
  • Con: may be most appealing to children who enjoy Sesame Street

Children can learn various skills, including calming breathing exercises, with the help of on-screen friends from Sesame Street’s television series.

The bilingual app (English and Spanish) also features various resources for parents or caregivers. In addition to mindfulness, the app encourages children to problem-solve, cultivate self-control, and learn planning skills.

The Sesame brand app is best for children ages 2–5 years.

Also, the app may suit those who wish to teach problem-solving skills to their children. It requires users to help the main character solve challenging tasks and practice relaxation techniques.

Best for families: Mindfulness for Children

  • Price: around $2.99
  • Pro: suitable for young children
  • Con: very few online ratings

The Mindfulness for Children app aims to introduce families to meditation practice. It offers guided meditations and teaches breathing techniques.

The developers designed this app for children ages 4 years and over. The developers claim it can help kids process their experiences, balance their emotions, and release stress.

Best for kids in school: Smiling Mind

  • Price: free
  • Pro: includes sessions for classrooms and workplaces
  • Con: users regularly report bugs in the app

This app is the product of an Australian nonprofit organization. It features mindfulness and meditation programs for people of all ages.

The app includes a variety of programs, from family-oriented sessions to classroom- and workplace-friendly practices. It helps users deal with challenges, pressure, and stress.

People can also download and listen to meditations while their smartphone is not connected to Wi-Fi.

There are a few options for children ages 3 years and up, but most of the app’s library is appropriate for those ages 7 years and older.

Best for schools and organizations: DreamyKid Meditation App

  • Price: from $9.99 per month or $69.99 per year
  • Pro: encourages positive thinking
  • Con: currently not available for Android devices

The DreamyKid app has various mindfulness categories, including guided journeys and sleep stories. A person can also access affirmations that help them engage in positive thinking. There are also healing activities, issue-based meditations, and sleep sounds.

The developers claim that most meditations are suitable for those ages 3–17.

The app is free for schools, hospitals, and other institutions or practitioners who work with children.

Users must sign up for a monthly or annual subscription to gain web access to DreamyKid content.

This app is only available for iPads and iPhones at the time of publishing.

Best for reducing stress: Mindful Powers

  • Price: around $4.99 for all features
  • Pro: has voice-guided mindfulness sessions
  • Con: suitable for a limited age range

The Mindful Powers app is designed specifically for children between the ages of 7 and 10. It features guided meditation sessions, a focus timer, and interactive games that aim to help children relax and focus.

It uses a skills-based approach and helps children manage stressful situations, reduce anxiety symptoms, and improve concentration.

The base app, which includes three unlocked sessions, is free. However, users must pay to unlock the full range of sessions.

It is currently only available for Apple devices.

The table below compares each of the apps included in this article.

PriceAge rangeType of sessions
Headspacefrom $5.83–12.99 per monthunder 5
6–8
9–12
guided meditation
breathing exercises
Calm$69.99 per year, one-time purchase $399.99under 18meditation sessions
sleep stories
Breathe, Think, Do with Sesamefree2–5breathing exercises
problem solving
planning skills
Mindfulness for Childrenaround $2.994 and overguided meditations
breathing techniques
Smiling Mindfree3 and overmeditation programs
classroom and workplace practices
DreamyKid Meditation Appfrom $9.99 per month or $69.99 per year3–17guided meditation
sleep stories
affirmations
sleep sounds
healing activities
Mindful Powersaround $4.99 for all features7–10meditation
interactive games
focus tools

People may wish to consider the following factors when choosing a meditation app for their children:

  • Platform availability: A person should check if the app is available for desktop computers, Apple, or Android devices.
  • Cost: While some apps are free to download and use, others require a subscription or include in-app purchases to access the full range of features. A person should check what features they may have to pay for and how often a subscription will renew.
  • Age: Check that the app is appropriate child’s age. Some apps provide meditation for children over 7 years of age, while others offer sessions for younger individuals.
  • Duration: Shorter sessions may suit younger children. A person should research how long meditation sessions are before signing up for classes or purchasing app subscriptions to make sure they are suitable for the child.

Children and young people can experience anxiety for different reasons.

In children, anxiety disorders may develop due to:

  • regularly moving house or school
  • parents or caregivers fighting or arguing
  • abuse and neglect
  • illness or injury
  • exams
  • bullying

Symptoms may include bedwetting, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, anger or irritability, and complaints of stomach aches. Children may also cry often and be clingy.

Learn more about anxiety in children.

Teenagers are more likely to experience social anxiety. This may make it hard for them to attend social events. They may also experience panic attacks and worry about academic performance, appearance, and how others perceive them.

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) recommends that parents see a doctor if their child’s anxiety is severe and is interfering with their school life.

A psychologist may also help children and teenagers cope with stressful events.

If a child or teenager shows signs of depression, they should speak with a doctor and get support from a mental health professional.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

Click here for more links and local resources.

Below, we answer some common questions about meditation for kids.

What age can kids start meditating?

Kids can start meditating at any age, and some apps suit those ages 5 and younger.

According to a 2019 study, children with a medical condition may be more likely to engage in mantra and mindfulness meditation.

Meditation can also benefit families who may be unable to access healthcare quickly.

Is meditating good for kids?

Meditation can be beneficial for children. Research has shown that it can help people handle stress, improve focus, and reduce anxiety symptoms.

People new to meditation may wish to try apps or websites with content suitable for beginners.

How do I start my child meditating?

Finding the right meditation session for children will depend on the child’s age, how much experience they have with meditation, and any mental health conditions they live with.

Caregivers can try a range of free meditation apps and resources online to find the right type of meditation for the child. They can start with short sessions to see which types of meditation the child enjoys and responds well to.

A person can also consider getting advice from a doctor.

Meditation is a useful stress-reduction tool for both children and adults.

Parents and caregivers who wish to introduce children to this type of mindfulness practice can choose from a range of apps online.

Meditation apps for kids feature many types of practice, including guided audio meditations to promote calm and sleep stories to help kids fall asleep.