Why Teaching Children Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness is an invaluable process that helps people become aware of themselves in the present moment. Through controlled breathing, it lets an individual focus on being attentive to one’s own body and mind instead of all the things that are happening in the surrounding environment. It also teaches one to set aside problems and issues taxing the mind. It is like meditation in that through controlled breathing, one can release the stressors that bring about struggles in life. When practiced consistently, mindfulness can teach one to be calm. For children, it can impact them in a way that will benefit their lives holistically.

Today, children suffer from a wide range of issues that affect their ability to learn and be at ease. Many youngsters deal with excruciating feelings of anxiety both at home and at school. They are stressed to the point where doing well in their learning is a serious challenge. Their schedules often make it so that their lives feel out of control. These problems can even create issues in getting along with other children or adults. They can display behaviors and emotions that seem beyond their control. Practicing mindfulness can help those who have such difficulties in life.

It is important for kids to learn mindfulness. This calming technique teaches them to become focused and pay attention not only to themselves when they are practicing mindfulness but also when their attention needs directing to important experiences in life: learning in school, watching out for dangers in the world around them, or even empathizing with others. Children are naturally impulsive, and mindfulness teaches one to notice his or her own behaviors and emotional responses to triggers. Practicing it can bring one stronger self-control. At the same time, the controlled breathing exercises trick the brain into thinking that everything is okay; hence, stress and anxieties are released. Consistent practice can even help prevent anxiety.

Nowadays, many teachers have experimented with bringing mindfulness exercises into their classrooms. Some schools even do this building wide. When kids enter the classroom first thing in the morning or after an activity like lunch, they can be quite excited. They tend to chitter chatter and get caught up in that excitement and those distractions to the point where a lot of time for learning is lost. Teachers have found that students’ ability to learn improves by practicing mindfulness as soon as students return to the classroom. It is a way for them to quickly become settled and calm. The controlled breathing centers them, bringing their minds and bodies back to a state where they are ready to engage with the day’s lessons. This easy process can have a life-long impact. Once kids recognize how mindfulness plays a part in their ability to think and respond, they are more apt to keep their focus on what is important instead of letting their minds wander or letting their emotions take over. As adults, they will know mindfulness is a coping tool to use when life’s difficulties seem overwhelming. Their relationships with others can improve, too. Mindfulness can help bring an awareness to how others are feeling and how they need to be shown respect.

Engaging in mindfulness is simple and quick, plus, it doesn’t cost a dime. The daily duration for a mindfulness activity only needs to take a minute. Once students know how to do it, it’s a skill they can easily practice on their own. In many ways, mindfulness is the same for children and adults. One learns how to practice deep, controlled breathing and clears the mind of any thoughts that try to push their ways in. When that chattering of the mind does begin, a person is to merely recognize that those thoughts are there but then cast them aside and instead think only of the breathing the body is doing to help enter a calm state. Mindfulness can be practiced when one is sitting, standing, or even walking.

When teaching children how to practice mindfulness, the exercises should be kid-friendly so that the kids think they are fun and will like doing them. Consider how the imagination of a child can be brought into the activity. They can pretend to be smelling an aroma of something pleasant like the fragrance of a spring flower or the scent of a warm cup of hot chocolate. They can also pretend to be an animal sniffing the scents carried in the breeze as the animal quietly walks through its habitat. All in all, when consistently practiced, the children will learn to pay attention to one thing: breathing. Once they have learned how to train their focus on that, they will be better able to learn to pay attention to other important things in life.