At its core, mindfulness is all about awareness. It means being fully present and noticing what’s happening around us. Most of us practice mindfulness in daily meditation or yoga practices that use our breath or our senses to keep us in the present moment. By staying present, both adults and children are able to enjoy a wide variety of short-term and long-term benefits.
Benefits of Mindfulness
While mindfulness can be extremely beneficial to adults, it can also bring a wide range of benefits to kids. Here’s how:
Strengthens Cognitive Skills
Cognitive functions such as organizational skills, attention spans, and remembering details can be strengthened by repetitive mindfulness practices. In fact, one study conducted over an 8-week period showed that a regular mindfulness program helped children better focus on the task at hand while also learning how to regulate their emotions.
Improves Emotional Health
In the modern day, stress, anxiety, and depression all seem to be commonplace. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Daily mindfulness practices can actually ease symptoms of anxiety and depression, improving overall self-esteem and emotional health. This is accomplished by teaching kids how to be present, and to reflect on their emotions in order to better understand them.
Improves Social Skills
By improving their cognitive skills and their emotional health, mindfulness can also help our children when interacting with their peers. Mindfulness allows for greater empathy and compassion, helping kids better understand the people they interact with on a daily basis.
How Kids (And Parents) Can Practice Mindfulness
Clearly, a daily mindfulness practice can be a great help to our kids, but how do we get started? Thankfully, there are a few ways you can go about it:
- Download a meditation app: Many popular apps such as Headspace or Calm offer special meditation plans for children.
- Buy a book on children’s mindfulness: In addition to apps, there are also many books available to teach parents and kids how to practice mindfulness.
- Practice yoga: Meditation is the most common form of mindfulness, but it’s not the only form! Yoga is a great way to practice mindfulness and may be preferable for kids who struggle when sitting still. You can find various yoga practices for kids on YouTube, like this one here.
- Practice Breathing Buddies: This is a breathing exercise uses stuffed animals to teach kids how to focus on their breath.
At The Zoo Factory, we believe a daily meditation or mindfulness practice can greatly benefit all children. So, if you’re searching for a breathing buddy, look through our inventory to find yours today!