For many working adults taking time to unwind and reduce stress is a known necessity. We lead busy lives that consist of work, marriage, kids, errands, and exercise. Our on the go lifestyle makes us very aware of our need to slow down and practice mindfulness, but what about our kids? Are they stressed? What would they be stressed about?
Wouldn’t it be great to teach our kids how to handle stressful situations with self-control at an early age? Absolutely! But how do we do that? Answer: MINDFUL MEDITATION.
WHY YOUR CHILD SHOULD PRACTICE MINDFUL MEDITATION
We may think that our kids don’t face a lot of stress because they don’t deal with the same situations we do. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. According to a study by the University of Florida, kids are experiencing more stress at a much younger age and the impacts are immediate. Life changes like moving, a divorce, changing schools, or shifts within the family can all have a lasting impact on a child’s well-being.
With increased stress kids can experience health problems, depression and anxiety, physical and mental health problems, and even learning disabilities. We want our kids to live healthy and happy lives, but in order to best prepare them to handle tough situations we must teach them how to quiet their minds and practice mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness can help kids with self-actualization and impulsive behavior. San Francisco Unified School District conducted a study by implementing mindful meditation into schools and saw a decrease in suspensions, expulsions and drop out rates while seeing an increase in improved behavior and test scores.
HOW YOUR CHILD CAN BENEFIT FROM MINDFUL PRACTICE
Mindful meditation practices can benefit children just as much as it can benefit adults. Multiple studies have proven that meditation has helped children in school, relationships and handling tough or changing situations.
Some schools have begun implementing mindful meditation into their curriculum by having their students meditate twice a week for 30 minutes. These schools saw increased focus and attention and found that students seemed to have more compassion within their relationships. It also helped to reduce symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, stress and improved students overall happiness.
At home parents saw that their kids were more emotionally stable in situations of change or hardship, had improved sleep quality and had better relationships within their family.
Aside from benefits with day-to-day situations the practice has also helped to improve behavioral and hyperactivity disorders. A study done by Journal of Child and Family Studies said that kids who suffer from ADD, ADHD, and autism saw improvement in behavior when mindful meditation was added alongside their medication, and in some cases were able to replace those medications with the meditation. The meditation helps them to refocus and put their attention back to where they are, allowing them to do what they need to do.
SO HOW DO WE START?
It can be a struggle to get our kids to sit still for five minutes, how are we going to get them to meditate?
Like anything else it’s going to take time, but starting simple is always key. You can start by taking them to a meditation class where there is a professional and other kids to motivate and encourage them, and if they aren’t stellar meditators the very first day, don’t be discouraged! It’s a practice that will improve over time.
Let’s start teaching our kids how to quiet their minds and practice mindful meditation and be the healthiest and happiest they can be!
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