Maybe you practice some form of meditation on your own to relieve stress in your life, but have you thought that it might be just as beneficial for your children? If your child experiences elevated stress levels, perhaps he or she can gain similar feelings of calmness through meditation tailored to his or her needs.
Children and Stress
Children can experience stress in their lives almost as often as adults and require some type of intervention to ease pressures from not only current cultural demands but from parents, school systems, authority figures, friends, and other outside influences.
Meditation not Just for Adults Anymore
If parents can turn to meditation and related practices for stress relief and peace of mind, perhaps their children can derive similar benefits through appropriate programs that address their needs. With children experiencing worry at more than normal levels, there are stress-relieving and calming routines that can benefit both their minds and bodies.
Stress Reduction Programs
Stress reduction programs can assist children with stress relief and they are easily shared at home or through programs incorporated within schools. One such program that has been recently adapted for children is Mindfulness.
Mindfulness is an easily utilized meditation-related practice that helps children with awareness, isolation of their present actions along with focused breathing and relaxation. Mindfulness not only reduces stress, anxiety, and depression in children but it encourages and promotes:
• greater awareness of the moment
• improved focus
• reduced impulsivity
• mood control
• better emotional stability (mind calming)
• physical activity (stress reducer)
• enriched sleep quality
• improved success in various endeavors
• less fear and frustration
• peaceful existence and happiness
• more compassion and clarity
Mindfulness and Child Center Activities
Mindfulness principles can be accomplished through some of the following child-centered activities:
– Belly breathing relaxation practice
• focus is on the lower abdomen and imagining a balloon inflating
– Deep Muscle Relaxation
• stretching arms, lifting shoulders, curling ankles, tightening other muscle groups
– Present Moment Awareness
• Object to draw exercise – The child is asked to select an object from a collection of items (such as a shoe, phone or clock). He or she is then asked to create a drawing of the object. Once the drawing is completed, ask the child to draw it again with more detail and compare the first drawing with the second one. Finally, ask the child what it was like to spend more time looking at the object, which he or she might not have otherwise observed more closely for details.
– Creative Movements
• creative yoga and accompanying breathing exercises specifically tailored for children encourage physical activity and bodily control that aid in calming
– Quiet Time Activities
• soft music and contemplation
• slow moving water, soft breezes, touching/handling natural objects
• calming scenery in connection with nature (slides, moving pictures, videos)
• familiar scents/smells – identifying with or without blindfolds
• relaxing in a comfortable bean bag or reclining on a floor mat
• closing the eyes and visualizing/imaging/remembering a
• perfect vacation
• pleasant activity
• memorable and positive occasion
Mindfulness with parent or school involvement assists children in developing strategies for remaining calm and stress free as well as aiding in the development of good habits. Solutions are available through Mindfulness programs for children of all ages