We cannot ignore that today’s children are growing up in a fast moving, competitive and technologically complex world. It is becoming increasingly difficult for children to avoid scrutiny and to switch off.
Schools are under increasing pressure to perform to standards and this pressure is pushed downwards onto the children who feel it necessary to ‘succeed’ to a set standard. In addition to this they have tremendous peer pressure.
Issues around educational failure, family disruption, disability, offending and antisocial behaviour impact significantly on the mental health and well-being of children and young people; if left untreated this can create untold distress for all those involved. This may continue to cause difficulty into adult life and most certainly impacts on future generations.
Mindfulness is a pro-active way of dealing with the stresses and strains of life and doesn’t single out children like other forms of therapy such as counselling or psychotherapy because it can be practiced by groups of children.
Benefits that mindfulness offers to children include:
- The physical body and emotional mind are balanced.
- Children develop self-knowing awareness, which is essential for building positive social connections.
- Children become more “tuned in” to themselves, wand thus become more “tuned in” to those around them.
- Developing empathy, which enables us to feel another person’s experience and image others’ reality. They learn to consider the bigger picture, imagining and acting on what’s best for the group rather than just seeing things from ones own perspective.
- Improved impulse control is developed and children learn to pause before taking action.
- Children are be able to calm and self soothe, and even unlearn fears.
- Improved attention span; the practice of paying attention can build our focus and attention.
- It enables individuals to develop a balanced perspective, to be able to deal with set-backs and have the inner resources to cope.
Written by Sue Pheasey
Further information about our Mindfulness for Children