You hear more and more about mindfulness or meditation for children and its benefits. In fact, many schools are introducing this practice into their school hours. But what is this about mindfulness? ¿How and from what age can we introduce children to the practice of meditation? What is the best time to carry it out?
Mindfulness is an experience that is based on the practice of meditation, in pay full attention to our present moment, becoming aware of what we are feeling, doing, thinking in the present moment, accepting emotions and thoughts.
Said like this it seems somewhat complicated to work with children but, nothing is further from the truth! We can say that when we are aware of what we are doing, thinking or feeling, we are practicing mindfulness.
With children it's about that, about initiate them in stopping to think and being aware of their thoughts, emotions and sensations, to help them in certain moments of stress, anger, anxiety, etc. and thus be able to better manage and handle emotions, feelings and sensations.
In general, we can say that meditation or mindfulness are indicated for any child from 5 years old.
Mindfulness can be of great help for children who are stressed, scattered, anxious ... But also for those who find it difficult to control their impulses, those with some kind of difficulty, such as children with ADHD (since their practice requires attention and concentration).
But in general the practice of mindfulness or mindfulness is beneficial for any child since it is not a 'therapy' but a useful tool in our life.
Mindfulness and meditation facilitate the development of a series of skills that allow children and adolescents connect with what is happening inside and around you. It develops their attention, their concentration and these skills help them focus on what is happening in the present moment, what they feel and think, what they are doing.
It favors emotional management and regulation in children. If they are able to stop and think about what they are feeling (I am nervous, my stomach hurts, I breathe very quickly ...) they will be able to stop to think and reflect on your emotions (What's wrong with me? Why do I feel like this, what can I do?), This favors the development of self-control and conflict resolution, since they do not act and respond impulsively, but reflectively and calmly.
In addition, we can establish another series of benefits such as:
- Improved self-esteem, as it helps them to know and accept themselves.
- It helps them to know and understand others better, what they think and feel and that develops their empathy.
- They learn to relax and this reduces anxiety, facilitates sleep.
It is important that the practice of mindfulness is done in a pleasant, calm, relaxed and playful way, that is, it is not conceived as if it were an obligation. Therefore, it is necessary use age-appropriate techniques and their ability to understand. In addition, they need adults to accompany them in practice and that we be patient.
If we are inexperienced, we may find it a bit difficult or strange about mindfulness. It is not that parents become experts (it would take us a few years to achieve this), but that we know its benefits. In this way, we will feel more willing to approach this practice and invite our children to carry it out with us.
To do this, we can propose a series of games, exercises or activities that will be useful to know and initiate you in mindfulness. We hardly need materials, we just need a quiet and relaxed space and a desire to practice.
We must find a quiet time of day, for example when we get up, at night before going to sleep (it will also help them relax before going to bed), a quiet time when we come back from school or after doing homework ... The important is do it without stress and without obligations.
If we do it as a game and we do it with children, they will surely love it and soon we will be able to see its benefits!
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