The Importance of Mindfulness for Kids
Mental health has become a major concern for both parents and educators as kids in the twenty-first century are experiencing more stress than ever before. Increasing numbers of people are teaching mindfulness to their kids as a way to help them cope with the less glamorous parts of daily life. However, anxiety or not, mindfulness has the potential to improve the well-being of all kids with a wide range of emotional compositions.
What exactly is mindfulness, you ask? In its most simplified form, mindfulness involves slowing down and gently living in the moment without judgment. The practice of living mindfully teaches kids to view their thoughts in a more neutral manner, enabling them to respond to stressful situations in more grounded and thoughtful ways. In addition to this philosophy, mindfulness can be practiced in a more structured way - through mindfulness meditation. Click here to check out top mindfulness meditation apps for kids and further explanations on guided meditations.
It must be noted that kids are uniquely suited to benefit from mindfulness. Habits formed early in life affect behaviors carried forward into adulthood. With mindfulness, we have the opportunity to help our kids cultivate the habit of being extra calm, thoughtful, and grounded in all situations. On top of that, while the human brain constantly develops throughout the lifespan, connections in the prefrontal circuits are created at their fastest rate during childhood. This means that teaching mindfulness skills to our kids early on has the greatest chance of actually making a long term impact.
Research findings on mindfulness have shown us that this philosophy and practice really work. Countless findings demonstrate that practicing mindfulness improves attention spans, helps people of all ages stay calm under stress and become more patient, reduces anxiety levels, helps people get along better with others, experience more life satisfaction, increase sense of self-confidence, and become better listeners and critical thinkers. What’s not to like?!
It is important to acknowledge that being a parent is an incredibly stressful experience on its own. That is why for those of you raising kids, adopting a mindfulness practice of your own may be incredibly beneficial for both you and your family. Taking this on will allow you to not only share the skills of groundedness and acceptance with your kids, but to also take better care of yourself at the same time while modeling patience and living in the present moment at home. The more we discover how to be mindful ourselves, the more we can turn to mindful parenting strategies and appreciate our child’s capacity to be present in each moment.
A great resource to turn to when teaching kids about mindfulness principles is our Behind the Anger Card Game. This game teaches kids how to non-judgmentally acknowledge and accept the range of feelings they experience, resulting in more thoughtful problem-solving to take place along the way. Additionally, The Nightmare Survival Kit is a fantastic medium to teach kids how to focus on the here and now, with guided exercises to address obstacles that come their way in the form of nightmares and anxieties. This game combo taps into fundamentals of mindfulness, helping kids flex their mindfulness muscles all while having fun and learning a lot about themselves and how to handle adversity.
Additional resource for parents: