Wild and crazy bullies! They just won’t sit still! Can kids be taught to be more mindful, to hear, think, be present to what is?
Mindfulness, we hear, is good for adults, and it is great for kids too. Mindfulness allows children to improve their abilities to pay attention, stay calm and improve their decision-making skills. Kids are able to self-regulate and improve focus, tune-in to what’s going on in their bodies, breath, and emotions. Mindfulness for kids offers an opportunity to perform better, identify thoughts, emotions and physical conditions. Being grounded, they don’t “float away” as often and can bring themselves back to the present, focusing on a task at hand. This is a big plus for children, especially if they are in school.
By offering programs that can help children strengthen emotional literacy, physical or mental states, they perform better. They are more present and able to be in the moment to moment circumstances.
- Improved focus, concentration, and academic performance
Imagine this scenario; your child is trying to study for a math test for the next day. He tries to concentrate but keeps getting distracted by his thoughts and keeps drifting away. With mindfulness training children actually slow their brain down and think about where they are and what they are doing. Students can take a time-out with mnemonics like S.T.O.P. – Stop, Think, Observe (bodies, minds, and emotions), Plan/Proceed. They count breathes, stay calm and listen. This improves selective attention, concentration and in-class learning efficiency.
- Better self-control
When children can catch themselves, before they “drift away”, it’s a sign of self-control and development. Mindfulness as a self-control strategy encourages a high tolerance for emotional states. It can help the kids identify and accept each and every feeling and thought as it comes up. The idea is to identify and accept, but not to judge the feeling or attempt to fight it.
Kids who practice mindfulness have better impulse control. They are able to manage stress and stay effective in stressful situations.
- Reduced bullying
Every parent wants their kids to be treated well by others. Adapting a mindfulness program can help reduce bullying. The goal is to empower kids and the adults around them.
Mindfulness is a tool that reduces reactive behavior and helps people develops a deeper awareness, resilience, and compassion. Therefore, the kids are able to manage their emotional responses.
- Increases self-awareness, social awareness, and self-confidence
Self-awareness and social awareness are two important social and emotional skills that the young ones should develop. Your child should be able to “tune in” to feelings, thoughts, and actions. These skills help him understand that how he acts on feelings and thoughts impacts not only him but others as well. The skills help him;
- understand his strengths and weaknesses
- recognize others feelings and needs
- understand and talk about his feelings confidently
- identify how his behavior affects other people
The Bottom Line
Mindfulness training program teaches the kids and their parents’ awareness of their emotions and behaviors and that they can be controlled. Mindfulness is the key to experience life to its fullest. As Bil Keane stated, “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow is the future, but TODAY is a GIFT. That is why it’s called the present.”
Check out our Mindful Moves for Kids programs for more information: http://workmindfulness.com/mindful-moves-for-kids/