In the past years all around the world Mindfulness and meditation have become very popular and implemented in different school settings.Children and young people of different ages as well as their teachers have noted all the benefits meditation can give them. Programs are various, lasting through whole school year or as an 8-week course, implemented as additional classes or in already existing curriculum. There are many studies which have confirmed the benefits of Mindfulness and meditation on mental health of children, youth, but also on their teachers.
Although children can seem carefree and with no worries, often childhood can be filled with stress, unpleasant emotions and confusion. Mindfulness programs can help children deal with this since they are designed to help children practice self-awareness, build stronger relationships, do better in school and manage their emotions.
What have studies shown?
Various studies have shown a positive impact of Mindfulness and meditation on attention, self-control, classroom participation, respect for others, improved teacher mood, as well as less hyperactive behavior, reduced stress and symptoms of depression. If you are interested to find out more about the studies you can look up on this link for more information. As it is mentioned in some of the research studies: “Although further study is needed, these results indicate that high-risk adolescents can sense the benefits of mindfulness meditation after just brief exposure to the practice. “
Why we need programs like this?
From personal experience as an educator, I believe that both adults and children and overwhelmed in many different ways. We have forgotten how to pay attention to our inner selves, how to be aware of our surrounding,how to use all of our senses, how to practice kindness, acceptance,compassion not just in relationships with others but also in relationships with ourselves. I truly believe that meditation and Mindfulness helps us in befriending with ourselves and in this way being friends with others will come naturally. What I often advise to parents is that if the want to teach meditation and Mindfulness to their children, first they have to practice it on their own. It is a known fact that children learn by looking up to their role-model, parents, older brothers/sisters, teachers etc. You can’t teach someone to be mindful if you aren’t.
I would like to conclude with this inspirational video in which children who are participants on one Mindfulness program share their experiences about the connection of emotions with our body and the brain, and also how they practice self-calming. Enjoy!