ZivaKIDS: Actress turned meditation guru focuses on kids during COVID pandemic

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Ask any parent to get their child to meditate, and they will probably laugh in your face. In fact, some of you reading this are probably shaking your heads in wonderment at the suggestion.

But zivaKIDS has hundreds of parents saying, "I can't believe my kid is meditating."

"(The program) is for kids aged 4 to 14, and they don't have to have any meditation experience," founder Emily Fletcher said.

She is a former Broadway actress who changed careers when her dream job proved too stressful.

"My dream turned into a nightmare," she said.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE | Actress-turned-meditation coach wants you to 'Stress Less, Accomplish More'
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Sandy Kenyon reports on the actress-turned-meditation coach Emily Fletcher.


In the years since her epiphany, she has taught more than 40,000 adults how to meditate.

"Now, we've taken these same skills of mindfulness and meditation and manifesting, and we've translated them into a really entertaining and accessible kid friendly format," she said.

To make lessons for the children aged 4 to 8 more accessible, she recruited a former puppeteer from "Sesame Street" to create a character called Z Bunny.

"He's training to be a superhero, so kids really relate to him," she said.

There's a separate course for older kids aged 9 to 14 who learn, in part, from their peers.

"When I get stressed, I tend to do things faster," one girl says in the video. "And fast isn't always the best way."

Fletcher notes the point is that young people "learn how to unlock their bravery, their creativity, and their kindness."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE | Emily Fletcher: Actress-turned-meditation coach
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Sandy Kenyon reports on a former Broadway actress who left the business to pursue her love for meditation


The actress turned meditation maven recruited what she calls a "dream team" of top child psychologists to help her develop the video lessons, then tested them with hundreds of kids and parents.

"I wanted to take the pressure off of parents," she said. "They have so much on their plates right now."

In fact, the pandemic has increased stress for all of us.

"One of my goals in creating zivaKIDS is to equip an entire generation with the tools to feel and process their feelings and the tools to turn inside for their own fulfillment," Fletcher said.

Another goal is to get kids away from their screens, after they've watched the lessons and learned how to meditate, of course.

To continue with this, they won't need a phone, iPad, or computer -- so the hope is they'll be more self-sufficient.

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