Meditations, yoga, and other mindfulness methods are cropping up in school across the country. Research has shown that teaching kids mindfulness practices can build attentiveness, respect, self-control, and empathy. Studies also suggest these techniques help to reduce stress, hyperactivity, ADHD symptoms, and depression.
Giving children these tools to help them offers freedom from negative thoughts and behaviors. The techniques help to build self-confidence and treat others and themselves with appreciation and respect.
In Ohio, US Rep. Tim Ryan has started the Skills for Life program in public schools to teach deep breathing, meditations, and other critical problem -solving skills for elementary school-aged children. What was discovered was these practices helped children to control emotions, reduced bullying, and increased awareness in both children and teachers.
In San Franciso School Districts over 3,000 children benefited from academic improvement from simply using meditation time and “quiet time” Fighting was reduced and suspension rates dropped and class attendance rose!
Meditation and mindful practices can be used with even the youngest of children. Early learners can get a huge head start by learning meditation and mindfulness techniques that will carry them throughout their life. Young children are very receptive to these practices and enjoy simply yet effective mindfulness exercises. Benefits also reach teachers and create an overall balance, appreciation, and joyfulness in programs which use these practices.
You can begin today with a simple yet highly effective guided meditation with your child like the one below:
This guided meditation brings a visual component to a very simple deep breathing exercise. You can do this standing or seated.
- Relax your body and begin to take deep inhales and slow exhales through the nose.
- Start to take a slow, deep breath to fill your belly up with air, as if you’re trying to blow up a big balloon. Expand your belly as much as you can.
- Slowly let the air out of the balloon (through the nose) as you release the breath from the belly.
- Encourage your kids to feel their entire body relax each time they exhale; each time air is slowly being released from the balloon. You can even make a “hissing” noise to encourage them to slow down the exhale even more, “Like letting air out of the balloon.”
- Continue for several minutes.
At Raising Arizona Preschool we practice mindfulness techniques with the children we serve. Teachers have had a simple yet effective introduction to working with young children using meditation techniques. Both staff and children are encouraged daily to use these methods in the classroom. The teachers use deep breathing practices as a form of calming children and aiding in negative behaviors. As, we continue our journey to mindfulness look for Raising Arizona Preschool to be instituting a full meditation and mindfulness program for all children, family, and staff. Raising Arizona Preschool is committed to mindfulness of children.