Three Ways Children Can Benefit From Being Mindful

Mindfulness is a practice that involves paying attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental way. The movement for mindfulness started 2500 years ago. It helped people become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, which lead to greater self-awareness and understanding of one’s own mind. In today’s world, the need to be mindful is prevalent in greater amounts as being mindful allows us to unwind and destress from our hectic lifestyles.

The practice of mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism, where it was used as a tool for developing concentration and insight which allowed them to practise moment-to-moment non-judgemental awareness. However, in recent years, mindfulness has been secularised and is increasingly being used in a variety of settings, such as healthcare, education, and the workplace. There are many different ways to practise mindfulness, but one of the most common is through the practice of mindfulness meditation. This typically involves sitting in a comfortable position, focusing on one’s breath, and bringing one’s attention back to the breath whenever the mind wanders. Other mindfulness practices include yoga, tai chi, and qigong, which incorporate movement and postures to help focus the mind.

Mindfulness practice session

Mindfulness can be beneficial for people of all ages, including children. It’s important to note that Mindfulness practices can be adapted to the age and developmental level of the child, and it should be done through fun activities such as mindful eating, mindful walking and mindful listening. By teaching children to pay attention to the present moment and be aware of their thoughts and feelings, mindfulness can help them develop important skills that can benefit them in many areas of their lives.

1) Better Grades

Mindfulness can help children improve their focus and attention. Children are often easily distracted and have difficulty staying on task, which can make it hard for them to succeed in school and other areas of their lives. Mindfulness practices can help children learn to focus their attention and stay on task. By improving clarity on what’s truly important, it’s possible to do less, using less time, and actually be more productive. This can improve academic performance.

2) Improved Mental Health  

A child taking a deep breath, mask on her right hand

Mindfulness can help children learn to manage their emotions more effectively. Children often have difficulty understanding and expressing their emotions, which can lead to frustration, anxiety, stress, and sadness. Mindfulness practices, such as breathing exercises and guided imagery, can help children become more aware of their emotions, and calm themselves when they are feeling upset. Children today face a lot of stress and anxiety. They often have a lot on their plates – school, extracurricular activities, social pressures. Mindfulness practices can help children learn to relax and manage their stress better.

3) Better Relationships

Mom and child lying on the floor

Mindfulness can help children develop empathy and compassion. When children learn to pay attention to their own thoughts and feelings, they are better at understanding the perspectives of others. By helping others meet those needs, children can form more positive relationships with their peers and adults. Studies on mindfulness training showed that mindfulness practitioners had measurably thicker insula, the part of the brain associated with empathy.

It’s also important to note that introducing mindfulness to children can also be beneficial for parents and caregivers. Seeing the benefits of mindfulness in their children can encourage them to practise mindfulness themselves, which can lead to a more peaceful and harmonious household.

Overall, introducing mindfulness to children has numerous benefits and can help them develop important life skills such as: focus, stress management, self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and compassion. They can help grow them into more resilient and adaptable individuals.

Written by Clement Pang, a practitioner of mindfulness and heart-based education.

- Carean Oh

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