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The Importance of Meditation for Kids

In today’s fast-paced world, it is a well-known fact that stress is a common occurrence. Everyone is affected by it, but it is mainly children these days that seem to be exposed to inordinate amounts of weight in their daily activities.

With the constant pressure to perform in their daily lives, it is little surprise that many children find it difficult to adjust and often suffer from mental and physical complications as a result. There are several studies which show that compared to previous generations, the current generation is the most “stressed out” (Sifferlin, 2013). This is due in no small part to the current nature of competitive education and a more active engagement with social media. Bearing all this in mind, schools and educators have been trying to find methods and activities to mitigate these stressful effects on learners. And though the field of study for effects of practices like meditation with relation to both children and education is not as extensive as it should be, it is a process that has been gaining more and more attention in recent years.

Happy kid girl doing yoga at home

With specific regards to children, meditation first and foremost helps as a way for them to centre their thoughts. It is a reasonably common instinct for kids to jump from one mental process to another, rarely sticking to one idea or action for too long. This can have lasting problems, in that focusing on specific things becomes difficult. It is also a very common complication for students with learning disabilities such as ADHD. Therefore, by integrating a little meditation into the educational process, students can learn to reach a state of calm, where the focus is put solely on helping the learner achieve that state and, by extension, their overall goals.


A recent study shows that in the case of 8-year-old boys, eight-week-long courses on mindfulness and meditation result in significant reduction of hyperactive behaviours as well as improved concentration – especially in the case of children with pre-established learning disorders (Carboni, Roach & Fredrick, 2013). This implication is further backed by similar studies with more currently underway to better understand these connections. Of course, once this is practised and refined, the ability to hone in and focus on specific goals can easily be applied to other tasks and activities throughout their lives as well. More importantly, it helps in dealing with academic stress.


A common and very distressing problem with children in this day and age is the pressure that the education system puts on them. Feelings of anger and frustration are part and parcel of this stress and are very difficult for students to deal with, especially if they are compounded with tough home and social environments.

Educators need to pay special attention to the factors that are triggering stress reactions in their students, as this is not merely something that should be addressed for educational benefit alone, but for ethical reasons as well. So, for the sake of healthy emotional development as well as educational de-stressing, meditation can be applied here as well. If the mind can free itself of tension, it can function at peak performance. It is a well fact that meditation-based activities dramatically help children to deal with constant stressors in their daily lives. Thus, implementing these activities based on the varied levels and types of stress they are facing is of extreme importance. Researchers are of the opinion that physical components must also be carefully woven into traditional meditation practices since there is a strong possibility of failure if traumatised kids are asked to only sit still in quiet contemplation (Harnett & Dawe, 2012).

Through careful integration and implementation of meditation along with activities tied to the same into the educational process, learners can find a simple and easy enough method to reach their fullest potential. With care, observation and understanding, educators may be able to use these methods to help their students reach a state of emotional security and stability so that they may be better able to achieve their goals.

References

Sifferlin A. The Most Stressed-Out Generation? Young Adults (2013).

Carboni, Jessica A., Roach, Andrew T. & Fredrick, Laura D. (2013) Impact of Mindfulness Training on the Behavior of Elementary Students With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder. Research in Human Development.

Harnett, P. H. and Dawe, S. (2012) The contribution of mindfulness‐based therapies for children and families and proposed conceptual integration. Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

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