The internet is overflowing with sites and practitioners showing us, as adults how we can practice Mindfulness – enabling us to cope with the pace of life and the pressures and demands of our daily lives. That wealth of knowledge is now being applied to our children. Our children are arguably exposed to more stress at a younger age than we were and research suggests they can benefit from practicing the discipline.
Simple techniques can be practised at home – the whole family can join in and tools and ideas are easily accessible.
Research has shown that children are particularly open and adaptable to Mindfulness and embrace the techniques of visualisation and meditation. Children have been shown to focus on the moment with ease and enthusiasm and once they have mastered the approach, demonstrate reduced levels of anxiety and stress and improved quality of sleep.
Mindfulness can also help those children with ADHD or autism, even suggesting that the techniques retrain the parts of the brain which are active in ADHD children – and thereby potentially reduce the requirement for medication in the longer term.
Other research has shown that the benefits of practicing Mindfulness can last up to 6 months after the programme has been completed and the techniques taught at primary school can still be of benefit as children develop into young adults.
As research and investigations continue, we can get on with the business of visualising our happy places and help our children focus on the moment. There is a wealth of resources available to parents – the Relax Kids website (https://www.relaxkids.com/free-downloads) provides parents with free downloads and pointers to get started. Ultimately it’s a win-win:
As one leading clinical researcher, Sonia Sequeira has suggested: “A child is imprinted with many influences… and all of this shapes a personality. When there’s a mindfulness approach to living, it ultimately becomes the personality of the child to truly manifest and become who they are – not trying to become a doctor or a lawyer, but trying to discover their gifts. At the same time, it allows the parents to wean themselves from this very analytical, competitive, linear thinking in life, trying to carry children towards certain goals, which ultimately is stressful for the parent.”
The articles below provides a useful overview for parents just starting out on the Mindfulness path: