In this guided meditation, you’ll guide your child on a simple body scan. This mindfulness practice can help grow your child’s self awareness, encourage them to notice the present moment, and make connections between their emotions and physical body.
As you lead this body scan for kids meditation, read at a measured pace with a soft voice. Model deep breathing and allow for pauses and silence. Encourage your child to stay quiet and still during this peaceful visualization. Choose a location that is safe, comfortable, and free from distractions.
Guided Body Scan for Kids
Today we are going to learn how to do a relaxing, calm body scan. A body scan is a form of mindfulness, where we focus on areas of our body, scanning for whatever our body is feeling.
Tuning into how your body feels will help you understand yourself more. During this mindfulness practice, you will tune into how different areas of your body are feeling. You may experience a variety of sensations, or nothing at all. Any feeling you feel is correct – neither good nor bad. They simply exist.
Begin by getting comfortable, either sitting up straight, or laying down. Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose, and out through your mouth. (breathe in) In through your nose… out through your mouth. (breathe in) In through your nose… out through your mouth.
Ground yourself by focusing on the point of contact between your body and whatever you are sitting or laying on.
How does it feel? Is it soft? Hard? Cold or warm?
Slowly take in three more deep breaths, in through your nose…out through your mouth. (breathe in) In through your nose… out through your mouth. (breathe in) In through your nose… out through your mouth.
Your gentle body scan will start by imagining within your chest a ball of soft, glowing light. What color is your light? Once you see your ball of glowing light, imagine sending your light down to your feet to begin your body scan.
The light spreads into your feet, allowing you to focus on what your feet feel like. Are they sore from activities? Heavy? Tingly or ticklish?
Scan your feet. (silent pause) Continue breathing deeply as you focus on the feeling of your feet.
Next, let the glowing light travel up into your calves, the part of your legs between your knees and ankles. The light flows into your calves, illuminating them and helping you focus on how they feel.
Are they tight? Itchy? Or do they feel like nothing at all? Whatever you feel is fine – no feeling is good or bad. Scan your calves. (silent pause) Take another deep breath in through your nose… out through your mouth.
Gently let the glowing light flow up into your thighs, the powerful leg muscles above your knees. Let that light shine onto your muscles, and focus on what they feel like. Maybe they feel relaxed, or maybe they feel sleepy. Scan your thighs. (silent pause)
As you continue your body scan, if you notice your mind wandering, no worries. Gently remind yourself to return your focus to the body scan.
Take in another deep breath, then slowly send the light into your stomach. The light spreads through your stomach and wraps around your back. Do you feel tension or anxiety?
Is your stomach sore, or do you maybe feel hungry? Scan your stomach and lower back. (silent pause) Take in another deep breath, appreciating what you feel as your belly rises and falls with your breath.
Now, let the light travel up into your chest and shoulders. Its bright light sparkles as it fills the space, letting you tune into your body. Do you feel any tension in your shoulders? Is it both shoulders, or just one?
Is your breathing fast, or slow? Notice how your chest feels. Maybe you barely notice anything at all. Whatever you feel, allow yourself to feel it in this present moment. Scan your chest and shoulders. (silent pause)
Breathe in again through your nose, and out through your mouth.
Your ball of glowing light will now travel a short distance from your shoulders up into your jaw and cheeks. Focus on these small areas of your body. Is your jaw tired from a day of talking and chewing? Does it feel tingly, or warm? Scan your jaw and cheeks. (silent pause) Take in another deep breath in through your nose, and out through your mouth.
Finally, let the glowing light spread into the top of your head and down every strand of hair. Can you feel your scalp? Can you feel the hairs on your head? Does it feel heavy, or tingly? Scan the top of your head. (silent pause) Take another deep breath in through your nose, and out through your mouth.
As you end your body scan, imagine the glowing ball of light returning to your chest. Let the light bring you to a place of peace. Take this moment to practice gratitude for the feelings you experienced in this moment.
As you continue your body scan practice, you will become more aware of how your emotions affect how your muscles feel.
Take in a final deep breath, and thank your body for serving you. (silent pause) When you are ready, open your eyes and slowly sit up. You have done very well on your body scan journey!
You can return to this mindfulness practice whenever you need to live in the present moment, rest your thoughts, and deepen your self awareness.
If Your Child is Still Awake After the Meditation
Some children fall asleep during the visualization. If your child is awake when you finish, they may want to share how different areas of their body felt.
If they don’t seem to know how to put the feelings into words, you can mention how it felt for you. “My neck felt tight today” or “It feels good to breathe really deeply like that”.
As you continue to practice mindful body scans, your child will learn to make observations and connections to how emotions make their bodies feel.
Body Scan Q + A
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about guided imagery and awareness.
How do you do a body scan meditation with a child?
It can be as simple as reading the script above or lying down next to your child and bringing awareness to different parts of the body. Generally you start with a few deep breaths to calm and center your child. Then bring your awareness to your feet and work your way up the body. Your child can lead if they choose. Just keep it simple. The goal is awareness and relaxation.
What are the steps in a body scan meditation?
The steps generally go something like this:
- Have your child lie down or get into a comfortable position
- Breathe deeply for a few minutes to calm and center the body
- Start by noticing how your feet or toes feel and then gently scan and feel your way into each area of the body
- Pay attention to any area that hurts, is holding tension, or needs attention
- Continue breathing as you end the meditation (or sometimes your child falls asleep during the scan)
How do you lead a body scan meditation?
If you’re using a script like the one above, read it over once or twice so you find the pacing. Then read aloud to your child in a gentle voice. Pause often so they have time to feel each area. Remind them of their breath.
If you choose an audio meditation, listen to it once through on your own to make sure it’s helpful and appropriate for your child. Sit or lie down with you child and do it alongside them.
Does body scan meditation work?
Deep breathing and scanning the body is a form of mindfulness relaxation. It gives the brain something to do, and can generally tune out the busiest parts of our minds. It’s very similar to the first few steps of The Military Method – a technique designed to help pilots fall asleep in 2 minutes or less. (source)
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