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  • Writer's pictureMatt Schubert

Mindfulness for Kids: The Secret to Raising Calm & Confident Children

Updated: Oct 27, 2023


In a kids chaotic and fast-paced world, learning the powers and benefits of mindfulness can provide them with invaluable tools to navigate stress, enhance their well-being, and strengthen emotional resilience. Not only are children faced with the pressures of school and meeting parents’ expectations but are also riddled with physiological changes that make emotional regulation harder than it is for adults. It is easy for caregivers and teachers to teach children right versus wrong, but how do we teach how to calm ourselves? In this article we will visit what mindfulness is, it’s benefits, and the best strategies to psycho-educate children on the topic



mindfulness for kids


What is mindfulness for kids?


Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and nonjudgmentally aware of the present moment. There are many ways to be fully engaged in the present and all of them are part of mindfulness. Throw out the stereotype of mindfulness as breath work or silent thoughts of calming the mind. Turn up the idea of a sports player being “in the zone”, or a musician finding that perfect riff. Think of smelling a rose blossom with a singing bird in the background on crisp spring morning. Mindfulness does not need to be forced. It is best when it is a learned behavior that is exercised without thought


How to practice mindfulness with kids


Many people think of mindfulness as a person sitting down with crossed legs, eyes closed, and a calm mind. Sure, mindfulness can be found by doing this more traditional practice of meditation, but this style will often fail miserably for children. Here are some examples of age-appropriate mindfulness exercises for children:


· Incorporate playful elements such as storytelling, games, or movement to make mindfulness enjoyable and accessible to children


· Psycho-educate children on mindfulness and it’s positive impacts of reducing stress, anxiety, and enhancing overall mental health


· Teach simple breathing techniques such as dragon breathing, which is breathing in deep and exhaling loudly like a dragon


· If your child enjoys sports, watch their favorite athletes speak about their performance. Michael Jordan has excellent sound bites on mindfulness


· Offer gratitude exercises that promote empathy, compassion, and acts of kindness towards others and the earth


· Teach children to tap into their five senses: taste, smell, hearing, sight, and touch. Senses are only felt in the present. A rubber-band snap on the wrist or a scented bracelet can bring children back to the present quickly


Importance of mindfulness with kids


Humans are born with a fight or flight instinct. It has helped us survive as a species since our inception. In the present day, the need for this biological response has lessened, but our instinct to engage with it has increased. When fight or flight is triggered in the brain it stimulates a cortisol response in our blood stream. Blood leaves our core organs like the brain and travels to extremities to prepare for a fight or to flee


Mindfulness can counteract this instinctual response and help us quickly regain our executive brain functions and rid our bodies of excess cortisol. Mindfulness can help us regulate our emotions so we can act appropriately to the situation. In addition, mindfulness can allow us to appreciate the present moment in life. One of the primary chronic symptoms of depression and anxiety is that they steal our ability to enjoy the present due to excessive worry or sadness about the past and future. When children learn how to be mindful they are given the gift of being able to enjoy the present. It is a gift they will have for the rest of their lives


Conclusion


Teaching mindfulness to children equips them with lifelong skills for managing stress, developing self-awareness, and enhancing emotional well-being. By introducing age-appropriate mindfulness practices and fostering a supportive environment, parents, teachers, and caregivers can empower children to embrace mindfulness as a tool for navigating life's challenges and nurturing their inner resilience. Mindfulness gives children the tools to fully engage with and appreciate the present moment





nampa and boise therapist

Matt Schubert is a mental health counselor who operates Gem State Wellness in Nampa & Boise Idaho. He specializes in working with children and uses cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness to help them develop a more balanced life

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