Welcome to part 1 in the Mindful Monday Series. Every Monday in May there will be a post focused on how to include various practices of mindfulness in our children’s daily lives. This week I list the benefits of meditation with children.
As I watched my children the last few weeks in the midst of standardized testing and final exams at school, I can’t help but feel my heart become a bit sadden by the enormous stress that they are facing. I compare that with my middle child that is currently being “brownschooled” with me at home and the contrast is undeniable. In the last 10-20 years there has been a huge spike in the number of children experiencing text anxiety, depression and just plain overwhelm. According to the American Test Anxieties Association,
- The majority of students report being more stressed by tests and by schoolwork than by anything else in their lives.
- About 16-20% of students have high test anxiety, making this the most prevalent scholastic impairment in our schools today.
- Another 18% are troubled by moderately-high test anxiety.
The pressure that they are under is mindboggling, not to mention the 24/7 pressures of social media…always being judged based on a single snap shot of their lives. The FOMO is real, mommy! A Harvard study showed that social media-induced stressors include:
- Seeing people posting about events to which you haven’t been invited
- Feeling pressure to post positive and attractive content about yourself
- Feeling pressure to get comments and likes on your posts
- Having someone post things about you that you cannot change or control
Although I know my children live a pretty privilege life and I often get annoyed by their entitlement mentality, I try to step back and see life from their perspective as often as possible. I see the pressures that they have as children that, quite frankly, we didn’t have growing up.
Of course we want the best for our children and we are ready to do whatever it takes to ensure that they are successful. We want them to be healthy, happy, do great in school, and be confident and kind.
What if there was one thing that you could give to them to help them get there—become more balanced, calm, thoughtful, less stressed and more focused—would you jump at the chance to purchase that? How much is it worth?
Most of this list of wants for our children is accessible—for free—through meditation!
[bctt tweet=”If every 8-year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation. – Dalai Lama” username=”brownschooling”]
Meditation can improve most areas of your kid’s life including sports, academic, social interaction, among other areas. This first post in the Mindful Monday Series is focused on the benefits that meditation offers.
What is Mediation
Meditation is a practice of the mindfulness of your thoughts and feelings. It’s about training your brain to be more aware and present. You can’t turn off the thoughts or feelings, but you learn how to notice or observe them, without judgement, and then calmly letting them go.
Benefits of Meditation for Children
There are many benefits to meditation for children and adults alike. This list is not inclusive of all the ways that you can find the practice of meditation meaningful to your family, but it may include some of the major worries that keep us up at night when it comes to our fears for our children. I’ve broken the benefits into categories and you can look at what area(s) you may need more focus in (keeping in mind this is always shifting and changing). Right now in my family, I am working on helping one of my sons deal with his ADHD symptoms (we call it “enhancing his calm”) in a natural, holistic way and am trying to get him to meditate consistently a little more each day. Something we struggle with, but I keep going back to it with him because I know the benefits meditation has had in my own life.
Maybe your family can focus on one or two things that you want to use meditation for in your child’s life. It doesn’t mean that she won’t enjoy other benefits, but at least you know you have an attainable goal in mind when you focus on one or two benefits at a time.
- Reduces signs of physical stress (heart rate, blood pressure, etc.)
- Calms the nervous system and decreases stress hormones
- Helps achieve deeper, more restful sleep
- Reduces anxiety (children learn how to respond appropriately under stressful situations)
- Helps children improve their memory
- Helps children focus for longer periods of time
- Improves signs of ADHD (focus, impulsivity, hyperactivity, etc.)
- Improves test scores (also correlations with higher graduation rates, lower absences and lower dropout rates)
- Increases self-confidence and self-awareness
- Helps to heal from life traumas
- Helps in gaining inner-peace and positive thoughts/energy (controlling the inner critic and negative chatter)
- Helps children feel more grounded and calm
- Increases a greater connection to the earth, to others, and to a higher power
- Increases happiness and kindness
- Nurtures a sense of compassion and connection to humanity
These are all things we want in all of our children’s lives. There are only positives to be gained. If you try it consistently and nothing changes then you at the very least, have gained quality (electronic-free) family time together and created memories for your children to take with them in their adult life. But the potential benefits are certainly worth the minimal risk. Wouldn’t you agree?
Which of these benefits do you think would be most helpful to your family right now?
Next week we will look at 3 major types of meditation and activities that you can do with your family.