MARCH 20, 2019
A 2016 news report revealed how after adopting 15 minutes of meditation as a form of discipline, Robert W. Coleman Elementary school – that contains over 300 students- experienced a school year free of suspensions.
Instead of being sent to the principle’s office, students are sent to the Mindful Moment Room. In this room, the students are paired with an instructor where they then detail the reason for their presence in the room. This is then followed by mindfulness exercises.
Aside from lowering the rates of suspensions, meditation is a practice that the younger population should adopt – especially in these times. According to a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, the mental health of teens and young adults in the United States has alarmingly declined.
Benefits of meditation in kids
Be it the growth of social media or increasing school violence – the mental health of the youth is in disarray. Yet, regularly practicing meditation can help to provide several emotional, mental and intellectual benefits. One study revealed how meditation helped to protect the cardiovascular health of teens at summer camp by lowering their blood pressure.
According to statistics, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States with 1 in 8 American children dealing with it (1).
Anxiety can get in the way of daily activities such as school and other social settings. Therefore, having your anxious child adopt meditation may free them of any negative thoughts and feelings.
Healthy emotional development
Learning how to cope with feelings of fear and frustrations is essential for a child’s emotional development.
According to a study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, mindful meditation led to the participating children being more patient, understanding and empathetic with others.
While this generation of youth possesses the ability to take in information at lightning speed, their attention span seems to have faltered and they find it difficult to focus and remain attentive.
Thankfully, meditation helps to better their attention span. According to one study published in the journal Neuroreport, an 8-week mindfulness program done on 3rd graders resulted in less inattentiveness, less hyperactivity, and fewer symptoms of ADHD.
Encouraging your child to meditate
In encouraging your child to meditate, it’s best to lead by example and practice a few breathing techniques with them.
Be sure to make it engaging and fun, all while appealing to their imagination. However, it is advisable that you keep each session short – between 5 to 10 minutes a day.
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While meditation can help to alleviate feelings of anxiety, the rates of both depression and suicide continue to rise amongst the youth. In fact, between 2005 and 2017, the rates of teenagers reporting symptoms associated with major depression in the last 12 months increased by 52%.