Mindfulness is described as the consciousness that arises by intentionally directing your attention to the present moment, with an attitude of complete acceptance and without judgment.
The benefits of mindfulness are nearly countless. By bringing mindfulness to our actual experience in the present moment, we can stay focused and achieve more conscious control over our thoughts and behavior.
Why Do Kids Need Mindfulness?
Kids of all ages can benefit from mindfulness. Regular mindfulness practice promotes happiness, helps relieve stress, alleviates anxiety, improves focus, and encourages compassion and empathy.
If you help your child develop healthy habits early in life, you are helping lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle in their adulthood. Mindful practice in childhood will help your child develop into a peaceful, resilient, compassionate, and accepting adult.
As evidenced in numerous studies, mindfulness improves memory, attention, concentration, self-regulation, self-acceptance, and self-esteem. It also enhances the child’s relationships with others and the quality of life in general.
Mindfulness can offer relief from whatever difficulties your child might be experiencing, from academic challenges to interpersonal relationships.
Research shows that mindfulness-based treatments may be effective for kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), who often display unfocused, hyperactive, and impulsive behaviors.
With school lessons, extracurricular activities, and sports, our kids’ lives are fast-paced like never before. Technology is constantly present in their lives, and it doesn’t allow kids to “switch off”.
Mindfulness helps kids better focus on here and now, think more clearly, relax, and improve sleep. It also encourages them to be more intuitive and creative.
Mindfulness and Developing Brain
Neuroscientific research has shown that the prefrontal lobe of the brain, which is responsible for impulse control, judgment, focus, decision-making, and problem-solving isn’t completely developed until the early 20s.
Because this part of their brain is still developing, children and adolescents may rely on the amygdala, the part of the brain that governs emotional life, impulses, intuition, instinctive behavior, and aggression, to make decisions and solve problems. In short, the amygdala matures sooner than the prefrontal cortex, which may explain teenage moodiness, impulsivity, and tendency to risk-taking behaviors.
Mindfulness practice which promotes skills that are controlled in the prefrontal cortex can have a significant impact on the development of skills such as self-regulation, impulse-control, or decision-making during childhood.
Simple Mindfulness Exercises for Children
Mindfulness exercises are very simple. Your child can do them sitting on a chair or the floor, lying down, or even standing and moving. All it takes is to focus on one thing (such as breathing or watching the environment) and keeping attention on it.
So, here are a few simple mindfulness exercises for kids.
Look around you, notice and name it:
5 things you can see
4 things you can touch
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
This exercise is useful in situations of high agitation, fear, anger, and other unpleasant feelings.
Imagine holding a cup of hot chocolate
Place the cup under your nose
Take a deep breath through your nose as you smell the hot chocolate
Exhale slowly through your mouth to cool the hot chocolate
Repeat several times
Imagine your belly is a balloon
Take a deep breath in your nose and notice your balloon is increasing
Exhale slightly to your mouth and notice that your balloon I shrinking
Repeat a few more times
Take care and keep healthy and positive,