When I speak to parents the first topic I naturally seem to go to is teaching mindfulness to children. Not because I need to lure them to my mindfulness classes, but because I need to keep them informed.
Parenting these days is more difficult and demanding, Not because the children have changed, but because the world around them has changed.
Everytime I visit a school and interact with the children and their parents, the first thing they ask me is –
“My child is very active, should he be treated for hyperactiveness?”
Well, I would never call this a mistake, the media and some doctors have intentionally made the picture hazy. Children who seem to be too playful or those who cannot stay in a place for a small length of time are under microscope these days.
What is Hyperactivity in Kids?
The psychiatry industry calls kids with following symptoms as hyperactive
1. Kids those who do not pay attention
2. Kids who cannot sit in their place for long
3. Kids who are impulsive
Now as a parent, as a human being answer me – will a child not be playful, will he/she be seated in the place where you ask them to, will children think about the result of their play?
I can almost hear you say No!
Of course No – if kids were not to be playful and impulsive there would be no childishness left in them.
Isn’t the above 3 points the exact difference between an adult and a child?
Well, I do not say ADHD does not exist, however I find that even a small instance of extra childishness is made to look like a medically treatment needing disease.
In fact some stimulant medication which is the chief medication chosen for ADHD has been reported to increase the symptoms of ADHD in many children.
In France thus, stimulant medication or any other medication is not given and for children who are hyperactive and those suffering from ADHD, on the contrary they use a drug-free holistic approach treatment.
Research Evidence Of Advantages of Teaching Mindfulness To Children
Research has found that Mindfulness Training for children escalates attention and social emotional awareness. Some of key awareness enhancements are
1. Children are able to focus on a subject
Katherine Weare – Emeritus Professor of Education University of Southampton in her research paper has summarized that mindfulness essentially develops awareness in children. It is a gradual process and with a span of 8 weeks and continuous practice difference can be perceived.
2. Their basic motor skills connecting to their brain, body movement and emotions increases.
Filip Raes et al have found that the mindfulness helps in better motor skills. The emotional quotient in children studied had been found to reach optimal levels after practice of mindfulness.
3. Children become calmer and able to control anxiety.
KU Leuven, in Science daily has concluded from a study conducted on 400 students that, mindfulness practice is effective in reducing depression, anxiety and emotional breakouts.
4. Interpersonal and social skills improve
Charlotte E and Dusana Dorjee from school of Psychology, Bangor University, Bangor, UK, in their study on the Meta-Cognition in Children opine that the interpersonal skills and emotional well-being has increased through practice of mindfulness in children of primary school.
5. Children become better academically (if that was your main concern)
Beauchemin, Hutchins and Patterson (2008) studied the feasibility of attitudes towards and the outcome of a 5 week mindfulness practice In children. They have reported that there is impressive increase in the academic performance of children practicing mindfulness.
It has been thus proven that Mindfulness Training leads to structural changes in brain. This leads to a better and composed child. You would also experience that children become
· Aware of their environment
· They become less judgmental of others.
· There is stillness in heart and anxiety is no longer an unsolved problem.
· Empathy and compassion towards others increases
· Children become better in terms of social response.
Practice mindfulness thus is of immense advantage to children, it is with the teachers and parents, now lay the responsibility to guide them.
Children learn quickly and follow without questioning too, hence when you begin the practice of mindfulness at an early age you sure would reap huge advantages.
Many parents want to know if mindfulness is a treatment, well, not at all, mindfulness is an exercise to your mind, to keep it hale and healthy.
If you would want guided mindfulness lessons for your family you could choose one of my mindfulness e-course. I am just an email away!