In the past few months, I am seeing an increase of information popping up on the news and social media about mindfulness. My husband has experience major benefits from practicing meditation in the past year so these articles, studies, books and videos really caught my eye.
At the start of this year, I read the book Mindfulness for Parents and learned that mindfulness is not yoga, it’s not simply meditation, but it’s slowing down and keeping your thoughts in the present. Click here to read my full review of the book. In the fall of 2016, I read the book Unselfie by Michele Borba. I was disturbed by the findings on how stressed out and depressed our young generation is. As a parent and advocate for young children, I started my research on what basic information (because what average parent has time to read a 50 page document with research findings?) I could share that would help support your children’s well being.
Let’s start with a few basic facts found in the results from a study reported in The British Journal of Psychiatry. The Mindfulness in Schools Program (MiSP) has a curriculum designed to fit into the school day and with appropriate training, be taught by classroom teachers. Reviews suggest teachers being educated is key to long term sustainability.
The study found that a target age group to teach mindfulness is from ages 12-16, a developmental window when young people need to deal with many academic and social stressors. I’ve been in parent book discussions where we are discussing 9 and 10 year olds who are depressed and on medication so I would error on the safe side and start teaching a mindfulness curriculum at earlier ages than 12.
The outcomes of this study show evidence that children who reported more frequent use of mindfulness practices had hight well being scores and lower depression scores at post-intervention. As suicide rates and depression numbers are on the rise, I believe so should mindfulness practices in our schools.
From what I’ve read recently, teaching self regulation strategies early on, let’s say as a toddler and preschool begins to experience stressors, is highly effective. What strategies am I talking about? Deep breathing, mountain breathing (breath in, hold, breath out) counting to ten to calm down, closing your eyes, activity, etc.
Read the entire study findings here.
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