The Benefits Of Mindfulness And Meditation For Kids
Life can get crazy. We've all had hectic days, and while we may know how to handle them or what to do to calm ourselves down, kids may not. As kids get older and more and more responsibility is placed on them or as they are faced with new challenges, they will likely get stressed out. So how do they come to handle their own emotions? Through mindfulness and meditation, which is a skill that needs to be taught. We believe that from an early age kids can greatly benefit from meditation and mindfulness. Here's why.
First of all, mindfulness allows kids to be in charge of themselves. They know when they need a break and they know how to deal with their feelings without adults telling them what to do. This sense of independence can then translate to other aspects of life. But more importantly, this mindfulness allows kids to better control their emotions and behavior.
Kids need to develop their thinking skills, and mindfulness allows them to do this. They'll become more aware of themselves, people around them, and their environment, and then can react based on logic and thinking rather than pure (and sometimes irrational) emotion.
Meditation, additionally, enhances focus, which can be an issue for some kids. Meditation and mindfulness helps kids be more aware of what's going on and what they're feeling right now, channeling out any other outside stimulants. The more one partakes in meditation, the easier this will be.
Mindfulness has a lot of health benefits, too, which is important. For one, it improves sleeping habits, and two, it regulates blood pressure. Then there are the mental health aspects, which are just as important as the physical benefits. Mindfulness is shown to improve mental health in kids and teenagers and can act as a coping method when needed.
For kids specifically, mindfulness and meditation has proven to help improve their confidence, their schoolwork (especially in regards to test-taking stress), and their interactions with their peers. In small ways, there will be benefits, as having kids be aware of their emotions and feelings will play a part in and improve their whole day.
So how can mindfulness be developed in a child? Both at home and at school, there are simple exercises to do that don't take a lot of time, and that can benefit the adults and other family members too. Parents and teachers need to encourage a focus on slow, regular breathing, listening to specific sounds (like a bell, perhaps), and even just talking about and explaining their feelings and thoughts. These activities and moments of mindfulness should not take up a lot of time, so it should be relatively easy to integrate them into the day.
Really, there are no downsides to having a child develop mindfulness and practice meditation. While the results may be more subtle or slow to show, they are in effect and they are allowing your child to live a more enriched, healthier life.