In a stressful world, meditation and meditative moments can offer us a shield to protect us mentally as well as physically. Practicing mindfulness can benefit us whether we’re adults or children.
I was reading the Time issue on mindfulness, and it mentioned the effect that meditation can have on students. Those who practiced mindfulness exercises had higher math scores.
There is a lot of evidence that meditation or mindfulness exercises also have positive benefits for adults, too.
I’ve heard about the evidence before, but it always seemed like something that was for people who had time for it. Then I read an article that stated that the people who feel like they don’t have time for it, are jumping up to try to go do other, more “productive” things, are likely the ones most in need. That’s me.
I already have meditative moments when I attend services on Sundays at my Unitarian Universalist congregation. Maybe my appreciation of those reflective, calming times primed me, helped me realize that I need more of those calm moments of reflection, not just a few minutes on Sunday.
So, I’m starting to try the meditation thing on a regular basis. I downloaded Headspace and gave that a try for the first time tonight. It was only 3 minutes, and I think I can manage that just fine. Half an hour would seem like more of a commitment.
Engaging Kids in Practicing Mindfulness
I signed up my daughter for yoga classes at the YMCA one session, and she loved it. The class wasn’t the calm sort of yoga that you may envision for adults; these were 2-4 year old kids, and getting them to sit still for a long time was not going to happen. But, they did learn movements, and after a few weeks, they all had most of them down. It was lovely to watch. If you have a local organization offering kids yoga or meditation classes, consider it. It may sound funny, but it can be an easy way to start having kids sit still.
My daughter liked the yoga from the classes enough that I looked online for additional ways for her to engage with yoga, and that’s how I found Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube. I highly recommend it. The yoga adventures (yes, adventures) may be about 20 minutes long. They aren’t super calm but get kids in the habit of learning poses while being active participants in a story that the instructor narrates. After watching one of these videos and following along, my daughter does seem to be a bit calmer, and it teaches her to follow instructions as well. It may be worth just trying even if it doesn’t click for your kid.
Sources & Further Reading
Jabr, Ferris. “Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime.” Scientific American. 15 Oct. 2013.
Oaklander, Mandy. “Mindfulness Exercises Improve Kids’ Math Scores.” Time. 26 Jan 2015.
Google ‘benefits of mindfulness’ and you’ll find plenty more. Just be sure that the source is legit. When in doubt, ask a librarian or shoot me an email – I’m happy to help.