It may seem nonsensical to suggest meditation for your child with ADHD given kids with ADHD tend to be hyperactive, restless and/or impulsive. But, many leading ADHD experts agree, meditation is the very thing your child needs the most.

Meditation for kids with ADHD can help them learn how to slow down and pause before they act – one of the main challenges associated with this diagnosis. As most parents of ADHD kids know, ADHD causes kids to quickly react to every stimulus that comes in – without thinking about them first. Children who have full executive functioning capability are able to stop and make a decision about what to do in response to a stimulus. Kids with ADHD often go directly into reaction. It stands to reason,…if we can teach a child to pause and breathe – even just for a moment – we can impact his or her ability to choose a different action.

According to Erin Snyders, an ADHD parenting educator and coach,

In order for your ADHD child to begin to develop the executive function / self-regulation skills she lacks, she must become aware of her thoughts. Meditation or “mindfulness” is hands-down the number one way to do this. Like, really guys, I’m not sure there is another way.

Create a special meditation space

One of the most important things you can do is create a special area for meditating. This should be a place away from the hustle and bustle of the house – a place where you and your child can go to unplug and connect. Let your child be part of the creation of the space to get them more involved. You can use folded blankets to meditate on or find cute cushions. Perhaps hang a sheer panel to visually section off a corner of a room as your special meditation space. Whatever you can do to make it a separate area will work just fine. 

Consider using a reward system

Okay, so the meditation stage is set – but just how will you get your child with ADHD to want to sit quietly for a meditation? We recommend you start with tiny increments at first and that you always do it together (bonus – YOU meditate more!). In the beginning, it’s smart to just set a goal of your child sitting in the space. Even if he or she only stays put for a few seconds, it’s a win. You might consider implementing a reward system of some kind where your child earns points or stars each time they sit in the space – whatever resonates for your child. Then, once enough stars are accumulated, they could win a small item or a favorite activity. As they get better at just sitting in the space, you can slowly begin to try 15 seconds of meditation, then 30, and so on. There are no hard and fast rules except to go at your child’s pace and remain calm at all times. If they can’t sit, it’s okay. Back up to just sitting near the space and reward that. You know your child best, so let them lead.

Use Ninja Focus guided meditations for kids

Okay, once you’ve got your child sitting in the space, what kind of meditation do you do? Try the kids meditations on the Ninja Focus app (free through 7/1/2020). The app’s soothing, short, guided meditation tracks have helped other kids with ADHD and they could help your child, too.

Designed with the help of parents, child development experts, behavioral pediatricians and mindfulness experts, Ninja Focus drives positive behavior with a wealth of guided meditations, bedtime stories, yoga flows and poses and music for children ages 3-12. We hope you’ll find it helpful in helping your child with ADHD learn to meditate.

This is a great app! I downloaded this app to help my son who has ADHD with calmness for the day and to help him go to sleep at night. I can see it helping him little by little.” – Brittany, Active Ninja Focus app user

My little sister (7) has ADHD (so do I) and this lets her take control of herself all on her own. We started using the app together at first so she could get and idea of how it works, but now she does her meditation whenever she feels she needs it and she uses the app’s guided meditations for when she’s bored or angry, too. Basically it helps her feel like she’s in charge of her body and mind and not the other way around. Absolutely love this app!

-Tina, Active Ninja Focus app user