Long gone are those days when stress and anxiety were just a thing for the grown-ups. Today, kids also deal with a lot of stress. And there are many reasons why kids get stressed, such as heavy course loads, a full schedule for extracurricular activities, getting bullied at school, and friendship dramas, to mention a few.
If not dealt with, the stress that kids experience could overwhelm them. It would affect many aspects of their lives, including their performance in class and social life. Therefore, children must learn how to deal with stress and improve their mental health, where mindfulness comes in.
In simple terms, mindfulness is the opposite of multitasking; it means giving something your full attention, such that you do not think about anything else during that moment. Since mindfulness has such great benefits to kids and teens, parents are highly recommended to teach this practice to their kids. But how can they do so?
In this article, we discuss practical ways how you can teach your kids mindfulness. Read on to find out how to teach your child mindfulness and what benefits mindfulness has on kids and teenagers.
Importance of Mindfulness for Kids
Mindfulness helps kids learn to focus all their attention on only one thing. By doing so, they can prevent any distractions from derailing them. Research shows that mindfulness helps young people with ADHD or similar concentration processes improve their attention spans.
Also, mindfulness helps kids learn how to deal with frustration, especially when facing challenging issues in life. Compared with other children, kids who practice mindfulness can stay calm under pressure, are more patient and get along better with other people.
What’s even better, mindfulness helps kids become better listeners, an attribute that can help them perform even better in the classroom and other extracurricular activities. Students learn how to respond best to stressful situations; instead of just reacting and throwing tantrums. Indeed, mindfulness teaches kids how to deal with life, such that they turn to become responsible adults later on.
Benefits of Teaching Your Child Mindfulness
Teaching children mindfulness is to help them develop their awareness of both their outer and inner experiences. Research shows that mindfulness provides three critical benefits to kids: social, emotional, and cognitive benefits.
A. Social Benefits
Kids who find it difficult to communicate or interact with others also tend to experience challenges in learning and understanding. Mindfulness helps children improve their social life and have more meaningful interactions at school. In turn, this leads to their better performance in school.
B. Emotional Benefits
Emotional health is a basis for good mental health among kids. Also, it helps to deter issues such as stress, low self-esteem, stress, and anxiety. Mindfulness helps kids learn how to manage their stress and anxiety.
It also encourages them to feel more optimistic about themselves, increasing their sense of well-being. Therefore, children who engage in mindfulness programs feel calmer, less anxious, get better sleep, and have higher self-esteem.
C. Cognitive Benefits
Mindfulness has a significant impact on the cognitive skills of kids. It helps to improve their executive functions, such as their ability to remember details, switch focus, engage in planning, pay attention and organize information.
By implementing mindfulness in all the schools in Indore, students have shown remarkable improvements in focusing on specific tasks at hand. Students who engage in mindfulness regulate their behaviors much better than those who do not participate in the program.
How to Teach Your Child Mindfulness: Ways to Promote Mindfulness
There are several ways you can teach your child mindfulness. Consider the following five most effective ways how to promote mindfulness among your little one(s):
1. Smell Roses
Trying out scents is one way you can help your kid become more aware of their surroundings. Teach them how to stop, literally, and smell the roses. For example, give your kid something aromatic to smell, such as a lemon peel or a rose flower. Ask them to close their eyes and pay full attention to what they small. What do they smell? How would they describe the smell? When you engage their sense of smell, you will help kids improve their awareness and enhance concentration skills development.
2. Count Breaths
Teach your kids how to concentrate on their breathing. Ask them to close their eyes, breathe in and count “one.” Then, when they breathe out, they should count “two.” However, they should not change their breathing pace. Instead, they should live as they usually do; measuring their breaths will help them become more aware of their body and lungs.
3. Listen to the Bell
Children also practice mindfulness by focusing on sounds and noises. Try making different sounds, then ask your child to listen attentively until they stop hearing them. For example, you can use a phone app with different sounds, a set of chimes, a singing bowl, or even a bell. Play the sound for about 30 seconds, then let your child listen carefully and let you know when they can no longer hear it.
4. Have a Blindfolded Taste Test
Since they are most active, kids eat frequently. However, they usually gobble food without paying attention to how it tastes. To help your child fine-tune their taste buds, conduct a blindfolded taste test with them.
After blindfolding your child, let them try out small bites of different foods. For example, you can give them a piece of banana, a strawberry, pizza, or other food. Ask them to move the food around the mouth for at least a minute and try to identify what food it is.
5. Practice Yoga
Yoga is not just beneficial to adults but also for kids. It helps them to connect between their body and mind. And the good news is there are several kid-friendly yoga poses that you could try out. You can either choose to look up yoga videos and practice these at home or enroll your kid at a nearby yoga class.
Childhood is a very crucial stage of development for young people; what happens during this phase lays an essential foundation for their mental health in the years to come. Therefore, you must start teaching your child mindfulness using the five tips suggested above.
Also, all international schools should incorporate mindfulness programs for their students. So that you as a parent, get to know how to teach your child mindfulness. When we include this attribute in children, we will register lower cases of depression and help our loved ones have a better and more stable future.