We live in a 24-7 always-on world, inundated with electronics, social media, deadlines, and traffic. We experience overwhelm and stress on a daily basis. Our lives are filled with stressors and stimulation that give us a wired energy and keep our brains spinning long after we’ve turned out the lights at night. 

And we are wiring our children’s brains in the same way. They too are exposed to screens and due dates. Their days are over-scheduled. The weight of tests and grades and peer pressure and image all weigh heavily on their young minds. 

To meet such demands, the nervous system becomes hyper-vigilant. Wound up and constantly stimulated, children today experience agitation and edginess. They are easily bowled over by their emotions, struggling to attune to their own needs much less relate to their peers with empathy and compassion.  Their brains are tired and in need of a reset. 

Thankfully there is a tool we can give the next generation to help them ride the waves of day-to-day life.  We CAN teach them to calm their nervous systems and manage their emotions.

mindfulness for kidsWe can teach them mindfulness.

Sure, it’s a trending buzzword. But let’s break down what it really means and explore how to help our children cultivate it.

Kids’ brains are actually primed to receive and integrate the practice of mindfulness. They experience the world with less bias and therefore fewer barriers than adults. Because of this purity of their world view, they are better able to tune into a mindful, observant state. 

By taking time daily to unplug and develop a meditation practice, children (and adults) can experience enhanced focus and improved attention. 

So how can such mindfulness be achieved? 

One way is with daily meditation practice. Through quiet focus, bringing awareness to each breath as it comes and the sensations occurring in their physical bodies, a child can begin to quiet the stream of thoughts and worries that jumble their inner voice.

With the noise turned down, the brain can function more effectively and clearly. Which leads to less stress and deeper self-awareness.

Meditation serves as a means of self-soothing that children can implement when the world around them (or their inner world of emotions) becomes too chaotic. And this healthier way of coping with BIG feelings allows for improved self-regulation which leads to happier, more resilient kids. 

In fact, the benefits of meditation are so many and varied that some districts are implementing the practice for school children. 

As adults we know all too well the impacts of constant stress on the mind and body (heart disease, chronic anxiety, strained interpersonal relationships), so let’s strive to give our children a better option. Let’s equip them with a mindfulness practice while also modeling meditation and self-care for them. After all, our children learn their behaviors from how they see adults behaving. We can do better for them AND for ourselves.