Mindfulness Meditation for Children
Most people know what “mindfulness” and “meditation” are thanks in part to the influence of those like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalia Lama, and even our peaceful yoga instructors. What we might not be as familiar with is how to integrate these practices into our busy lives, teach our children, and get our schools on board with providing appropriate practices for academic settings.
With growing support, research, and media coverage, mindfulness and meditation seem to be moving towards a more mainstream existence. The pendulum is swinging in reaction to what journalist Carl Honore dubbed, our “cult of speed.” Our numerous roles, overload of responsibilities, and “always-on” technology keep us ramped up, multi-tasking, and consequently worn out.
Our children are not better off. They ingest the second-hand stress their parents project, and are burdened with full schedules of their own.
The inclusion of meditation and mindfulness in their daily lives, verifies the importance of monitoring and caring for mental health as naturally as they do their physical selves. It also teaches youth the importance of setting aside time to disconnect with social media and other forms of electronic entertainment.
Our society continues to evolve and the pace is hurried. Where stress is so palpable for most adults, meditation techniques no longer belong on the periphery. In this country, where rates of childhood anxiety and depression continue to increase, tools for prevention need to accessible. At home, and in school settings, discussions regarding mental health should become as commonplace as nutrition and fitness.