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3 Meditation Practices to Help Kids When They’re Sick

3 meditation practices to help kids when they're sick, pink shield on pink background

Some of the most practical uses and benefits of meditation and mindfulness are experienced when a child is ill. Meditation is certainly not the cure for the common cold or flu, but if your little one is in need of a bit of comfort, you might want to incorporate a simple meditation practice along with the noodle soup and cartoon binging. 

Meditation helps kids when they’re sick because it relaxes their mind and body, releasing feel good hormones, called endorphins, which in turn reduce pain and illness. This is important because being sick causes an increase in stress hormones and inflammation. Having a cold, the flu, covid, or just a random virus, leads to you feeling poorly, which in turn affects your mental state, causing depression and anxiety.

It makes sense, then, that when kids aren’t feeling great physically, they also feel much worse mentally. In fact, illness increases psychological distress, and in kids this might result in less emotional regulation, more tantrums, increased anxiety, and feelings of sadness.   

Meditation and mindfulness can reduce symptoms of pain and illness, but it’s important to choose practices that 1) your child enjoys and 2) have an ameliorative effect. This means that breathwork and mantra meditation are probably out, but guided story meditations, creative visualizations, and body scans are definitely in. Let’s explore these types of meditation and how they can help little ones feel better. 

Guided story meditations are perfect for kids who are under the weather because little ones love listening to stories, and they’re even better when the story incorporates soothing meditation and mindfulness practices.  

Creative visualizations, or using guided imagery, is the practice of using healing images, via the imagination, to help the mind and body heal itself. Many guided story meditations contain guided imagery, but using healing imagery can be done as a solo practice which children can find very empowering.   

Body scans involve relaxing one part of the body at a time, often imagining releasing tension when being touched by a soothing color or a sparkling light. Some children enjoy clenching muscles in different parts of their body and then releasing them to feel the instant relaxation. 

You can help your child create healing images or creative visualizations, or adapt them from these Wee Meditate scripts. Always begin the practice by having children get in a cozy position, sitting or lying down, and with any comfort object like blankets or teddy bears. Taking a few minutes to relax before beginning is important…don’t jump right in. If breathing slowly is difficult due to a stuffy nose, have them focus on melting into the space that they are in and the feelings of their space around them.

Some children might like to meditate with soft music in the background, dimmed lighting, and maybe a soothing essential oil diffused in the room. Once your child is relaxed, begin the meditation.

Here are 3 meditation practices to help kids when they’re sick:

For the Sniffles, Colds or Flu: 

Garden of Light  

If you are comfortable, close your eyes. Imagine that Dragon has just come from the Crystal Cave. He is so sorry that you aren’t feeling well, and he wants to help. Dragon hands you a special velvet pouch with a sparkling drawstring closure.

You open the pouch and see beautiful sparkling crystals, in every color of the rainbow. Dragon invites you to toss your crystals in the air. When you do, they turn into crystal lights that shimmer in the sky before entering your body. The inside of your body is like Bunny’s garden, in early spring. The crystal lights go deep down into the soft, brown soil, and soon shimmering flowers begin to grow. These flowers, in every color of the rainbow, fill your body with a garden of healing light energy.  

The flowers keep growing and growing, and soon there is no place left in your body for sickness. You begin to see the sickness, packing its suitcase and waving goodbye. “I’m sorry I made you feel poorly,” the sickness says. “I’m heading off now, and I’m so glad that your body is now filled with a garden of light.

As the flowers grow, sparkling and stretching toward the sky, you keep feeling better and better. Your garden of light makes you feel strong and powerful, and you wave to the sickness as it leaves. “Goodbye, sickness,” you say. “I hope you will be well on your journey.” “I will be well,” say the sickness. “The healing crystal flowers have made me feel so much better. In fact, I am taking some with me, to help me feel better too.” 

You smile and relax, so grateful to Dragon for his special gift. You know that you can imagine using these healing crystals, and the beautiful flowers that grow inside of you, anytime you are feeling unwell. You can always imagine your body filled with a healing garden of light.

For Sore Throats, Fevers and Pain: 

Owl’s Magic Paintbrush* (*This is adapted from a much longer guided story meditation in our meditation Library) 

Get cozy and comfortable. If you like, close your eyes. Now imagine you have a set of paints, and a magical paintbrush. 

Now that you have your magic paintbrush, pick your favorite color. What color is your favorite? Red, like an apple? Yellow like the sun? Orange like a pumpkin? Blue like the ocean? Purple like jelly? Gray like the sky on a rainy day? Imagine dipping your magic paintbrush in this beautiful color. 

Imagine taking your magic paintbrush, and painting your sore throat, fever, or pain with this color. When this magic paintbrush touches your sore throat, fever, or pain, you start to feel better. 

What would make you feel better? Being touched with comforting coolness or soothing warmth?Once you decide, imagine the paintbrush painting that warm or cool color over whatever part of you doesn’t feel good. 

With each stroke of the brush, you paint over more and more areas of pain. With each stroke, you feel less and less pain. As the soft strokes of your paintbrush color the pain with warmth or coolness, and a beautiful color, you feel better.

For Anxiety/Tension:   

Bear’s Body Scan  

Bear has been feeling a wee bit under the weather, and he’s sorry you are feeling unwell, too. He’s invited you to join him in his den, where you can do a body scan together. If you’d like, close your eyes.

Imagine walking down the forest path lined with colorful, sweet flowers. The sky is blue and the warm sun warms your body. Soon you see Bear, standing at the door of his cave. He invites you to come in and get cozy. His cave is dark, with just the glow of a small lamp. The space is just the right temperature, and his furniture is so soft and comfortable. You sit down on an overstuffed chair and wrap a blanket around your shoulders. It is your favorite color, and made with the softest yarn. You and Bear imagine a soft, sparkling ball of light, just above you.

The light moves down and touches your head, and when it does, you feel your head relax. Slowly, slowly the light moves down your body, and as it touches you, you feel your body relaxing. As the light touches your face, you feel all tension in your jaw relaxing. Soon your neck, shoulders, arms, and chest are gently covered by this soothing ball of light and you slip deeper and deeper into relaxation.

Down, down, down goes the light, bringing softness and relaxation to your arms, your hands, your fingers, then your tummy, your hips, your legs, feet, and toes. You look down and see your whole body wrapped in this beautiful sparkling light. You notice that you feel relaxed and peaceful, and that is a very nice way to feel.  

Wee Meditate

We hope you’ve enjoyed these practices and that your little one feels better soon. To gain full access to our meditation library filled with meditation practices just like the ones above, sign up or login to start listening!