Ten GREAT Reasons Mindful Meditation Benefits Your Kids(and your life too!)
Mindfulness is a state of body-mind awareness that turns our attention to the present moment. It encourages curiosity and being open to fully experiencing the moment. If you’re like me this exactly what I encourage my children to be: curious, open, aware. Luckily, when it comes to kids, they seem to live in the moment. I find that a little nudge is all they need for them to focus their energy, which comes out of being open and curious, in the right direction. That’s why mindful meditation is such a powerful tool for our children’s development, because it highlights our kids natural strengths and helps by promoting intrinsic growth. Below are 10 great reasons your kids should practice mindful meditation.
Mindful meditation gives children time to explore their feelings.
Kids are super busy little people. Sometimes just watching my kids makes me tired. Up, down, bounce on the couch, run across the room, play with this toy, then try to play with their sibling’s toy, tell on their sibling for not sharing, want a snack, return to couch, bounce, bounce, bounce. Kids are often so busy that they don’t take the time to focus on why they feel a certain way, just that they do. Meditation gives your kids time out of their busy lives, to slow down, and focus on how they are feeling.
Meditation aids in reducing anxiety.
Kids have so many synapses firing in their little brains and often problems evolve out of not being able to make connections on why they feel a certain way. Adults often just call it anxiety and yes your kids can have anxiety. Meditation helps build healthy neural pathways and there is scientific evidence that just a little meditation can help lower anxiety. There is of course plenty of anecdotal evidence also, that practicing meditation and mindfulness with your kids will reduce anxious feelings that your children may feel throughout their busy day.
Meditation helps kids retain focus.
All kids have trouble paying attention sometimes. I often have to ask my children, “Did you hear what I just said,” immediately after saying it. This is, as any parent knows, perfectly normal. Kid’s brains are tired. It’s easy to forget the enormous amount of learning a kid does every day. Factor in that many children struggle with ADHD and ADD and retaining focus can seem an almost insurmountable task. Doubled with the fact that there is an ever-increasing expectation for school performance from our kids with very little guidance on teaching our kids how to stay attentive. Enter meditation. Practicing meditation helps teach kids the skills to regulate their attention on the immediate and ensuring they have better skills to address their daily distractions.
Mindful Meditation increases school performance.
Not only does meditation result in increased attention and decreased anxiety, but according to a recent meta data review, it also correlates to faster information processing, efficient working memory and cognitive flexibility. The review looked at 15 studies, involving 1800 students, across three continents and 6 countries. Concluding that a host of academic and learning skills benefited from mindfulness and meditation.
Your child’s self-esteem will benefit from mindful meditation.
Kids who learn meditation benefit from an increased optimism about life and a stronger self-identity. These are two of the cornerstones on building a healthy self-esteem. One of the popular mantras of meditation is to “know one’s self.” By learning to focus inwards, on our own self-experience, we are given the strength to reflect outward on physical, psychological, and social change. Thus better equipped to integrate ourselves with a positive self-image into these new environments.
Your child’s physical health will benefit from mindful meditation.
While meditation and mindfulness is a practice we associate with our mental faculties. The benefits don’t stop with just mental health. Mindful meditation focuses on the integration of the brain, mind, and body. Research suggests that meditation changes the brain and the body. Meditation is shown to decrease stress and promote a healthy body. Which results in a host of better physical outcomes, but more importantly may help your children to never develop physical problems that can result from stress such as, but not limited to: high blood pressure, IBS, ulcers, and chronic pain.
Meditation may increase your child’s immune responses.
Meditation, it turns out, may affect your disease fighting cells, such as, pro- and anti-inflammatory proteins, T-Cells, and immunoglobulins. A number of studies showed increased T-Cells and T-Cell activity as a result of meditation. There are numerous studies showing increased disease fighting proteins in people who meditate. One study even showed increased wound healing in people who meditate frequently. God knows with all the bumps in bruises our kiddos get, increased healing time is a huge plus!
Children may sleep better through meditation.
Just like Mom or Dad kids having racing thoughts that can keep them up at night. My kids don’t have trouble staying asleep, but they sure don’t like to fall asleep quickly. It isn’t abnormal for them to be giggling on the stairs, well after bedtime, and for me to hear the pitter-patter of their footsteps as the run back into their beds when they hear me coming to check on them. Meditation will help your children to evoke the relaxation response, which is a physiological shift in your mind and body, which will help your children fall asleep quicker and sleep better.
Improved social skills may develop from your kids learning to meditate.
The same meta-data review, that showed a correlation between meditation and stronger self-identity, also saw a correlation between meditation and pro-social behavior (like volunteering) and reduced anti-social behavior (like tantrums and disobeying). Additionally, mindfulness helps in perspective-taking in social interactions and can increase your child’s abilities to show empathy, compassion, and positivity when relating with peers.
Meditation can benefit your child’s creativity.
Recent studies have found that those who practice mindfulness have greater creative abilities and problem solving skills. Thinking outside the box is an important attribute to success in life. Introducing your children to mindful meditation, at any age, will help your children to be better prepared to handle life’s twists and turns, through creative problem solving.