Practicing mindfulness can help kids learn to focus, manage stress, regulate emotions, and develop a positive outlook. Here’s how to teach them the skill.
Last year, my daughter started learning mindfulness in her third-grade class at school. The students would sit in a circle, close their eyes, and quietly take notice of their own thoughts and what was happening around them. Each session had a different lesson: mindful seeing, mindful hearing, mindful breathing, or heartfulness (or sending kind thoughts to others). The idea was that learning these techniques would help the young students focus better in school and be less stressed out. Though at first, my daughter resisted the mindfulness—she said the singing bowl they rang to start the sessions hurt her ears and gave her a headache—she slowly came around. She began enjoying the sessions and discovering they helped her focus. Since she began using the skill at school, I’ve noticed she is better able to center herself at home, too. When she starts freaking out about something, she is able to stop, take a breath, and shift her perspective to come up with a less emotional—and more productive—reaction. For a very sensitive and dramatic kid, this is a major development.
Read also: Teaching Mindfulness to Children