Mindful Kids

Pass it On!

Children sometimes need a little help “settling down”.  Mindfulness exercises have been studied and proven to help with self-esteem, concentration, calm, awareness, gratitude, happiness, kindness and general performance in school. Studies even show that they can have a higher rate of graduation with meditation.

The suggestions here are not to take the place of a physician’s help in cases where there are signs of hyperactivity, ADHD and other mood symptoms.

There is a lot of help to be found.  YMCA start kids in yoga as young as preschool age. Churches work with prayer, kindness, and spiritual awareness.  You can do some fun and easy mindfulness exercises with your kids and because they tend to be more open to new things; the results are strong and quick.

Cathy Sykora

Cathy Sykora

Founder, The Health Coach Group

Cathy helps health coaches build and maintain successful businesses that improve the lives of others.

Distractions Abound

As babies, we start out in awe of every sound, movement, shape, and texture.  As children grow, we allow them to be subjected to our “busyness” and distractions.  Kids have cell phones, social media, youtube, television/movies and computers in all forms that distract and mesmerize.

Give your children a break from the electronics and teach them to move, breathe and experience the world around them.  A simple activity like laying in the yard, feeling the grass and the sun beating on your face and looking at the movement of the leaves on the trees and the clouds in the sky can bring kids into the moment.  

One study was done with 4th and 5th graders where 1/2 were put into a classroom situation with their standard “social responsibility programs, ” and the other had mindfulness exercises.

“In the mindfulness classrooms, the program incorporated sense-sharpening exercises like mindful smelling and mindful eating, along with cognitive mindfulness exercises like seeing an issue from another’s point of view. Children did a three-minute meditation three times a day focusing on their breathing. They also acted on their lessons by practicing gratitude and doing kind things for others.

“In the mindfulness classrooms, the program incorporated sense-sharpening exercises like mindful smelling and mindful eating, along with cognitive mindfulness exercises like seeing an issue from another’s point of view. Children did a three-minute meditation three times a day focusing on their breathing. They also acted on their lessons by practicing gratitude and doing kind things for others.

Compared to the kids in the social responsibility program, children with the mindful intervention had 15% better math scores, showed 24% more social behaviors, were 24% less aggressive and perceived themselves as 20% more prosocial. They outperformed their peers in cognitive control, stress levels, emotional control, optimism, empathy, mindfulness, and aggression.”  Mandy Oaklander, Time Health

I don’t know about you, but I think these practices are well worth the time and effort and anticipate they even have a strong effect on the teachers involved.

Natural practices:

  1.  Practice Gratitude, keep a gratitude jar.  Write what you are grateful for daily, read them monthly.
  2.  Bedtime prayers or meditation.
  3.  Limit time on electronics
  4.  Walks where you notice what is surrounding you.
  5.  Ask questions about feelings.
  6.  Daily acts of kindness, the kids pick.
  7.  Weekly acts of kindness as a family.
  8.  Eat at home as a family – at a clean table.
  9.  Quiet time.  Get a CD or playlist with breathing or meditation minis.

 

Children benefit from mindfulness. The scientific studies are showing that they help in ways that need to research even further. Make the time today to practice mindfulness in your family, and everyone will reap surprising rewards.

 

Did you enjoy this blog? 

Sign up to receive a weekly notice.

6 Comments

  1. Susan Mary Malone

    Not surprising that the mindful control group did so much better! Kids are so bombarded today (as are we all) with constant stimulation. Ahh, to mindfully smell a flower!

    Reply
  2. Tamuria

    This is a big theme I push, Cathy, not only with my students but also the Goddesses. I have the Goddesses one day a week (two days, one for each family) and always try to incorporate mindfulness. We go on discovery walks and talk about the beauty of nature. We have a ‘love jar’ where I record the grateful thoughts the Goddesses have about various members of the family and of course, we do lots of mindful creativity exercises.

    Reply
  3. Joyce Hansen

    This is such important information to get out there Cathy. So many kids are on this success path pushed by parents and schools, that they miss out on being kids in the natural world. Recent research has pointed out the increase in children with hypertension. It’s time to stop and rethink what we are doing to our children. I hope more schools will include mindfulness in their programs.

    Reply
  4. Lorii Abela

    Love this. I think if the children start this practice early, they can have a more satisfying life in the future. It is also great that there is an exercise together with the parents. This creates a bonding as well.

    Reply
  5. Apolline Adiju

    I love this Cathy. I recently started Yoga with my daughter, and it has been a pleasant experience so far. It had been terrific as it takes her away from her tablet and TV for a while.

    Reply
  6. Reba Linker

    I really appreciate this post! As a parent I can see the effect of too much electronics on the family dynamics and you offer great suggestions!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *