Today’s children live very different lives from those in previous generations. While there are more opportunities for children and young people these days, there are also more restrictions and pressures. Remember when you were younger and you could play outside with your friends as long as you were home by a certain time? Remember when you climbed trees and scraped your knees without a care in the world?
Today’s children live a far more restricted and solitary life. They spend a lot more time indoors, watching TV and playing on phones and tablets, and this constant overstimulation, coupled with stress caused by exams, bullying, peer pressure, and the need to ‘keep up’ with their friends on social media, means that for many children, anxiety and depression is on the rise.
But the good news is, there is a solution, and that solution is mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness teaches you to be present in the moment; not thinking about how your colleague was rude to you yesterday, or worrying about a meeting you have next week. It can benefit everyone, especially children.
The thing with children is that they are naturals at living in the moment. Watch them play and laugh, and see how much they are capable of being in the here and now. But modern life has stripped some of that away.
Another thing that mindfulness teaches is to observe your feelings and emotions without judging or reacting to them. This can be tough for us, so imagine how tough it is for children who haven’t got the life experience or emotional awareness to understand exactly how they are feeling and why.
Mindfulness is not about sitting in silence, cross-legged and meditating. (Try getting children to do this for very long!). It’s not about ‘stopping’ your thoughts. It’s about being able to be in the moment, realising exactly how you feel, and letting go of worries and negative emotions. It’s about bringing some stillness to the mind; something we could all benefit from.
The benefits of mindfulness for children
Studies have shown that mindfulness has some great benefits for children such as:
- Improving focus and concentration
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Improving mood
- Improving relationships with others
- Better sleep
- Improved sense of wellbeing
How to encourage children to be mindful
Here are a few simple ways you can teach children how to be mindful.
Go for a mindful walk
Go for a walk to a local park or beauty spot and ask them what they can see, smell, and hear. This will bring them right into the moment. Then, ask them how their body feels as they are walking; are their toes cold, do they have any aches anywhere, do they want to sneeze? This will help them bring awareness to their body.
At mealtimes, instead of them gulping down their food, ask them to really look at it, smell it, and taste it. Ask them what it smells like, what the texture is like, and what they can taste. Eating this way can make mealtimes so much more enjoyable and it encourages children to slow down and focus.
Do you work with Children?
We’re running a Mindfulness in Schools Workshop on 2nd March, which aims to introduce you to the concept of mindfulness for better health and wellbeing.
Throughout the workshop, we’ll give you plenty of ideas on simple exercises you can use to teach mindfulness to children.
Many mindfulness courses and workshops only focus on breath and awareness, our training brings together a wide range of mindful activities that are very useful for both children and adults alike.
Do you want to bring the amazing benefits of mindfulness to the children you work with?
You can register your interest for the Mindfulness in Schools Workshop by using the form on our contact page. The course tutor will then get in touch with you to discuss your needs. If you’d like any more information on any of our courses, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07917062257.