Children are growing up in a highspeed world. There is a need for them to slow down but how? This is the question been asked by parents and educators alike.
Mindfulness is the latest catch cry but does it really work for children.
What is Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment. It means slowing down to really notice what you are doing.
Benefits of Mindfulness
According to research, mindfulness can have numerous benefits.It suggests that the practise of mindfulness can result in:
- pay attention better
- be less distractible
- learn more
- stay calm under stress
- avoid getting too upset about things
- slow down instead of rush
- listen better to others
- be more patient
- get along better
- feel happier and enjoy things more
The practise of mindfulness does not eliminate stress, instead, by becoming aware of unpleasant thoughts and emotions that arise because of challenging situations, children have more choice in how to handle them in the moment.
A child who practises mindfulness, will experience times of getting angry or upset. These are very normal emotions. Developing skills related to mindfulness, may help a child be more thoughtful in how they want to respond. That may be more evenly and thoughtfully.
Mindfulness is the practise of attention regulation. It involves three aspects;
- Where is our attention?
- Prioritise where it needs to be
- Make it go there and stay there.
Preschool children through to adults can develop the skills of mindfullness. A child can be encouraged to practise mindfulness in a formal way through meditation, mindful colouring in or in a more informal way by being mindfully engaged in their day’s activities. These activities can be as simple as mindfully walking or eating. It is when the child is tuned into the task they are doing now, in the present moment. The child is being mindful.
Development of Mindfulness
Each child is at their own stage, some children are able to practise mindfulness for quite some time whilst others can only be mindful for a few seconds. There is no right level for any particular age. Through the mindful activities each child will develop their skills in this area.
A range of mindful apps for children can be found through a google search. Many apps are free and can offer simple mediations to support and develop mindfulness. Developing the skills of thinking mindfully takes practise and is developed over a lifetime.
Further information regarding Mindfulness and Mindfulness activities can be found on https://www.headspace.com/meditation/kids