A major key to bringing self awareness and mindfulness to our children is to find ways to incorporate the practice of mindfulness into their schools. Here are some of the best practices to do so..
Many teachers, parents, and even children are starting to discover the many benefits of mindfulness and what it can bring to a child’s schooling experience. Among the benefits stands a firm list of what every kid certainly needs:
- Lower levels of stress and anxiety
- Better focus
- Improved self-regulation
- More regular sleep
- Enhanced academic performance
Children today are expected to do more with organized activities, have better grades, spend more time on homework, and actively participate in family chores much earlier than in years past. Suffice it to say, kids are just stressed out, and we can see why.
How Kids Have Gotten So Stressed Out And Why They Need The Mindfulness Practice As Soon As Possible
According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, nearly 25% of 13-18 year olds are going to be afflicted with an anxiety disorder. Those are staggering numbers.
Between social media, competitive organized activities, taking on more responsibilities at home - an not to mention the effects of the COVID lockdown - children are constantly under pressure to perform and meet the expectations of a society moving faster and faster with each day.
A lack of play, and this kind of early stress - as per the American Academy of Pediatrics - are having alarming impacts on our kids capacity to learn, their memory and recall, and are adversely affecting both their mental and physical health.
What Is Mindfulness And How Does It Combat What Is Happening To Our Children Today?
Mindfulness is characterized, quite literally, by the quality or state of one being mindful
In other words, mindfulness is the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis
This state of awareness allows our children to stop, slow down, and reprioritize their emotions. With this in mind, mindfulness grants kids the opportunity to experience what they feel, accept it, label, and appreciate what it means to them. To that end, mindfulness brings a greater understanding of what it means to feel certain ways, and provides the tools necessary to evenly distribute those emotions as opposed to acting out in ways that are not beneficial to kids, parents, or the schools.
The trick is to bring mindfulness into kids' lives early - so they have the knowledge when they are more easily adaptable and they become better prepared to transition into the next phase of their lives when it’s time.
Best Ways To Bring Mindfulness Into Schools
You can certainly implement a school-wide mindfulness program so long as you take the time to do the research and understand the physical curriculum needed to teach it properly. Though, this method certainly takes a lot of effort and time. As such, a proper plan has to be in place, and you need to have A LOT of patience to make it happen.
How to bring mindfulness into schools
- Begin with the teachers - if the school is the body, then it is the teacher who is the heart of the school. If you can get the teachers on board with the idea of mindfulness teachings, you are a LONG way to making the necessary changes to embrace mindfulness. Do you know a teacher who also sees the benefits of mindfulness? Perhaps there is one who is willing to learn about it? Once you have a teacher to help prop up the program, then that is all you need to get the rest to follow along.
- There is a science behind mindfulness and you need to know it - there is a lot happening within the field of mindfulness right now – especially as it relates to schools. There are studies everywhere which quantify the practical benefits for kids across the country. Seek out these studies, learn the numbers, and present them to your school. The more hard evidence you have at your disposal, the easier it will be to help change some minds.
- Be open to conversation with faculty and parents - there is a lot of misconception around mindfulness, the practice of yoga, and breathing techniques everywhere in this country. Some members of our community may hold outdated and outmoded beliefs on mindfulness and look down upon the practice without understanding the benefits. Perhaps some feel it defies their teachings as a parent, or maybe it insinuates belief in other religions. Take the time to help educate people in as much of a non-secular way as possible.
- There is no one size fits all approach - mindfulness means many different things to many different people. Some people see it as a method to benefit sleep. Some see it as a centering agent. While others interpret mindfulness as a tool to better help their exercise programs. The fun part is that they are all right! It is all of those things at once. The issue we all have to agree on though is that no child is the same. As such, no method of teaching mindfulness can work for everyone. Understand your child's needs, their age, and their opportunities for improvement - that way you can configure specific methods for teaching mindfulness to kids in the ways they need it most.