If you’re a parent, you undoubtedly understand the frustrations of raising small children. What with the constant nagging, crying, shoving and bullying that transpire within the house. To add insult to injury, kids today are constantly on their electronic gadgets – they are either cyber-conversing on social media or playing video games on a myriad of devices. Gradually, stress and fatigue start creeping up as kids attempt to balance between their school life and their social life. If not checked, the buildup of tension bottles up and culminates in a stream of negative emotions.
Mindfulness for kids is an effective technique that allows your children to develop better concentration and a deeper sense of self-awareness. The exercises practiced are simple enough for any child to perform. In mindful hearing, for instance, children are guided through a brief meditation session in which they pay attention to different sounds. Constantly practicing mindful hearing helps a child to settle down before working on their homework, retiring to bed or performing other tasks.
Does meditation for children really help?
Various studies conducted on mindfulness meditation for kids suggest that this practice leads to increased focus, better concentration and improved memory among children. Mindfulness helps children to remain grounded, to savor the present moment instead of worrying about the future. Learning to connect with your true essence from a tender age builds a deep sense of compassion and self-worth. In reality, mindfulness is one of the best gifts you can offer your kids. It’s an important tool that will prove to be extremely beneficial during adult life. A significant number of schools are even replacing conventional punishments with mindfulness exercises – that attests to the tremendous benefits of mindfulness for kids.
Mindfulness for kids encompasses a myriad of exercises, including mindful breathing. In this technique, kids pay keen attention to their breathing technique as they are guided by a meditation teacher. If your children have just started meditating, they are guided through brief sessions of mindful breathing (around 15 minutes per session). If you’re kids have practiced a bit of meditation beforehand, the full mindful breathing exercise suits them better. Many mindfulness for children exercises are ideally designed for kids aged 6-11 but of course adolescents can also benefit. Mindful breathing exercises allow kids to calm their nerves when undergoing stressful situations.
Mindfulness entails anchoring your mind in the present moment. It also involves viewing your thoughts in a non-judgmental manner, allowing them to enter and leave your mind uninterrupted. But for kids, mindfulness should be designed to be simple and straightforward. This way, they’re able to grasp the idea behind mindfulness and ultimately enjoy meditating. Mindful seeing techniques help kids to focus on their sight senses. A small stone or rock is usually placed in front of the kids before the session commences. This rock, also called the “focus rock,” serves as the object of their mindful meditation. There’s an assortment of items that kids can use as their meditation object – a guided meditation instructor ought to experiment with different objects during each session.
How to introduce mindfulness to your children:
- Be good role models: parents should lead from the front if they truly desire to teach their children about mindfulness. When kids see you meditating, their curiosity will naturally increase. They will consequently emulate what you do.
- Make it simple and relatable: you don’t want to complicate mindfulness for kids. Try using techniques that will capture their growing minds, such as story-telling. You could also use imagery and metaphors to explain what happens during meditation.
- Encourage communication and feedback: ask your kids what they are feeling at certain times. Also inquire what makes them happy, sad or worried. Getting to the root of their unhappiness will give you an idea of the most appropriate mindfulness exercises to introduce to your kids.
- Make it fun: kids love having fun, so try designing mindfulness exercises that are exciting. Designate a single room within your house to act as the kids’ special meditation room. Allow your kids to come with their very own trinkets. Also use a timer during mindfulness for kids exercises. Guide them through their meditation sessions or get an experienced teacher to guide them.