Meditation key to beating child's stress

Primary schools are teaching children how to meditate in a bid to reduce stress, anxiety and depression when they are older.

Carine Primary School is one of 200 schools and other community groups in WA using the free website or smartphone app Smiling Mind, which was developed by a team of psychologists to introduce children to mindfulness meditation.

Its creators hope to see it included in the national school curriculum by 2020. Carine's school psychologist Jane Lindesay said all classes from Years 1 to 7 started using the program in May.

Teachers used it every day after students returned from lunch to help them settle back into class and pay attention during afternoon lessons.

"The research has shown that mindfulness meditation improves working memory and the ability to pay attention," Ms Lindesay said.

"It also reduces stress and increases resilience."

She said the children would sit or lie down and listen to the mindfulness meditation for about seven minutes each day.

"The teachers are saying the kids are more settled in the afternoon, they're more focused," she said.

Child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, who helped develop the Smiling Mind program, said it was a preventive approach.

"My prediction is that in 10 years time, every single school in Australia will be starting the day with a bit of meditation, it's just so beneficial," he said.