You may a question, Why offer mindfulness to young kids?
The main reasons are:
Our modern life has changed us from human being to Human doing. Our culture tends to put test scores, wealth and status before joy, connection and well being. Scientific research and media tell us that young people’s lives are increasingly stressful because of fast paced, media saturated world, from being pushed to perform “succeed” and get into the best college or be a best athlete or best singer, dancer etc.
To meet these expectations of parents and the world:
Kids are often too busy, juggling dozens of balls at once, socially and emotionally, at home and school.
They are tired, easily distracted and restless
They seem to be switched on all the time, but where is the pause button?
By practicing mindful presence and awareness, kids learn to pause for a moment, to catch their breath, and to get a sense of what they need at this moment in time.
Lastly, the main reason that I felt compelled to learn mindfulness and teach them to kids is that an alarming number children and adolescents are being diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, depression, obesity and addictions and I see them in my practice and its heart breaking to see them crying, hurting themselves and thinking of ending their lives.
What can we do to immunize the youth from the stress of this modern world? One of the things we can do is to help them learn to manage the stress and one way to do that is to teach them mindfulness.
What is mindfulness and how does it help? Mindfulness is paying attention here and now with kindness and curiosity and then choosing your behavior. It means living in the present moment without judging or ignoring anything or getting carried away by the pressures of everyday life. It is feeling the sun on your skin, feeling the salty tears rolling down your cheeks, feeling a ripple of frustration in your body. It is directing your friendly awareness to here and now, at every moment.
Research demonstrates that children who practice mindfulness experience increased attention and focus, improved planning and organization, increased self-esteem, improved quality of sleep, decreased anger, anxiety and depression. Therefore, mindfulness is used by professional athletes, artists, musicians, doctors, lawyers, engineers and military personnel to enhance their performance
Reference: Still Quiet Place by Dr. Amy Saltzman