How Mindfulness and Meditation Help Children Overcome Stress

Although children don’t yet have to worry about mortgage payments or car insurance, they still experience stress in their lives. Though many aspects of their stress may not look the same as an adult’s—some are notably similar, such as the pressure to succeed. This pressure can be brought on by parents, educators, and society in general, and it forces children to slog through life with heavy shoulders under the expectations of the world.

There is hope, though. Life doesn’t have to be a grueling challenge right from the get-go; it should be enjoyable for everyone—especially for children. What helps a child enjoy life to the fullest, with the least amount of stress, is mindfulness and meditation.

Children who practice mindfulness and meditation have an easier go of things. Though only 7 percent of children in the United States meditate, the number of children who demonstrate symptoms of anxiety and restlessness is higher than ever.

Practicing meditation allows kids to focus better, practice more self-control, and increase empathy and respect. Meditation can also help manage stress, ADHD, and hyperactivity.

Incorporating mindfulness into a child’s life can help them both now and in the future—this is obvious. But while this tactic has numerous positive effects, it’s no use to try and force your child to enjoy it. Forcing it on an unwilling child will only create a habit of push-back; instead, they should be given gentle encouragement as if you’re trying to get them to eat green vegetables.

Also, it’s important to remember to lead by example. Children learn through what they see, so if you make it a point to practice mindfulness and meditation yourself, your children are more likely to want to follow in your footsteps and practice for themselves.

Children and Meditation

Children have a natural gift for mindfulness and meditation, and it’s actually easier for them to learn than it is for adults. Children aren’t obstructed by the same biases, barriers, or preconceptions of what it means to meditate, which allows them to enter the process from a more non-judgmental standpoint.

In recent years, it has become more and more popular for schools to introduce meditation and mindfulness. Some schools are even replacing detention with meditation, which allows children to look inward and find a sense of recovery rather than being left in an empty room to stew for an hour and come away either learning nothing or becoming even angrier.

There are a number of benefits when it comes to children’s mindfulness and meditation. Here is a list of the most notable:

  • Better Focus

With the increased popularity and development of technology, everyone’s—not just our children’s—attention spans are shorter than ever. Growing up around so much technology isn’t necessarily negative—of course, there are benefits—but being surrounded by devices that are capable of instant gratification makes it difficult for children to focus and pay attention to one thing for a long period of time. Meditation teaches them to dedicate their attention to one singular thing while also reminding them that it feels good not to be distracted or constantly thinking about what comes next.

  • Improved Compassion and Self-Esteem

Bullying is an age-old issue, but with the onset of technology, bullies have only been given more power. Insecurities given to kids by bullies tend to stick in our minds and hang on even through adulthood—but the good news is that meditation can help with this. By taking pause and creating a moment meant for only themselves, a child can feel secure, empathetic, and stable. These feelings foster compassion, joy, and improved self-esteem.

  • Boosted Confidence

Mindfulness helps to boost a child’s confidence because it helps them become more self-aware. By learning through meditation that they don’t have to react to every thought and emotion they have, that they can choose what to believe and what to pay attention to, they build confidence and trust within themselves. Confident children can better deal with situations that are unfamiliar; they’re more adaptable, they’re problem-solvers, and they appreciate life on a deeper level.

  • Enhanced Empathy and Happiness

Children who are mindful understand how to share the love that they cultivate within themselves with other children—and the more you give, the more you’ll get in return. Mindful children are better friends—they’re patient, understanding, and good at listening. They have all the tools they need to be happy children.

A Mindful Child

Though there’s no way to eradicate the stressors of everyday life, there are plenty of coping mechanisms for a child who is under pressure. By incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your child’s daily life, you’re helping to mold them into a well-rounded individual who’s prepared to handle anything that’s thrown their way.

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