Teaching Mindfulness to Children

Mindfulness, which features focused awareness training, is increasing in popularity among mental health  professionals. Mindfulness training emphasizes focused attention to internal and external experiences in the present moment of time, without judgment. While mindfulness interventions have been used in treatments for stress, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and addiction, researchers suggest that this type of training also can be beneficial in everyday life. Most research and writing on mindfulness training has been about adults. In this paper, the authors argue for adapting mindfulness techniques for work with children. The authors propose that training in mindfulness has the potential to enhance children’s attention and focus, and improve memory, self-acceptance, self-management skills, and self-understanding. Specific exercises to teach children to be mindful are presented in progression, beginning with awareness of the external environment, then awareness of the self in the environment, awareness of the body, and finally, mindfulness meditation exercises that feature attending to cognitive processes. Suggestions are made for incorporating mindfulness into school curricula.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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