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Why Teaching Mindfulness Benefits Your Child

high school girls sitting on stone steps reading a book

Practicing mindfulness not only helps parents and teachers, it is of great benefit to learn about mindfulness at a young age. Teaching mindfulness skills at home and in the classroom allows young people to self-regulate their behaviors, manage emotional outbursts, and stop negative thinking patterns.

What Is Mindfulness?

One way to define mindfulness is maintaining a gentle nurturing awareness of our feelings, thoughts, body sensations, and surroundings in the moment. By intentionally cultivating a non-judgemental awareness of what we are feeling and experiencing moment by moment, we can better regulate our responses and focus our attention more effectively.

Describing Mindfulness to Children

The idea of mindfulness meditation is complex for adults, and can be even more difficult to define in a way that makes sense to kids. A simpler way to explain it is mindfulness is paying attention to what you are doing and feeling right now, without rushing or worrying about what comes next. Another good reminder for kids is be where your feet are.

How Does Mindfulness Help Students Succeed?

high school student studying

Studies have shown the benefits of mindfulness for kids and adults, and suggest that it may be even more beneficial for those who learn differently.1 By identifying their emotions accurately and shifting to neutral thought patterns rather than self-judging, young people can fully engage with life’s challenges while gaining self-awareness and emotional balance.

Programs that actively teach mindfulness strategies for students offer these benefits:1

  • Improved working memory and attention
  • Improved academic and social skills
  • Better emotional regulation and self-esteem
  • Better sleep habits
  • Increased compassion and emotional intelligence

Teaching Mindfulness Improves Mental Health

Research also supports teaching children mindfulness to reduce negative feelings and risks to mental health, including:1,2

  • Decreasing feelings of anxiety and stress
  • Reducing fatigue and symptoms of depression
  • Limiting emotional outbursts and behavioral issues

Mindful Parenting and Teaching Mindfulness at Home

Children who have the opportunity to learn mindfulness at home and at school have the ideal support to become resilient in daily life and successful in academia. Consider these ways to bring home the benefits of mindfulness for your child:

Model Mindfulness as a Parent

If you have not yet embraced mindful parenting techniques or have lost some of your own focus on personal awareness, now is a great time to renew your practice. Adolescents will offer you many opportunities to slow down, take a breath, and recognize when your emotions are in the driver’s seat.

Demonstrate your skills by voicing what you are feeling and pointing out the environmental stresses in conversations with your child. Let them see that while you are not perfect and always in control, that you actively work toward giving your full attention and awareness to your conversations with them. Your willingness to remain in the moment with mindful parenting strategies will inspire their trust and willingness to participate themselves.

Discuss Their Amazing Brain

The developing mind and body of a young person is truly amazing, and engaging their curiosity about how their brains work can help them see the advantages of mindfulness in daily life. Those who practice mindfulness have the cheat codes to their own mind. As we develop self-awareness, our capacity for compassion grows.

Adolescents and young adults often feel awkward in their own skin and surprised by strong emotions and unexpected triggers. Just as experiences mold our brains and exercises shape our bodies, practicing mindfulness is a powerful way to train the mind in self-acceptance and self-regulation. These skills then translate into a true sense of confidence and willingness to engage with others.

Encourage your child to research the benefits of mindfulness themselves, which may include increased neuroplasticity and an increase in brain activity in the areas responsible for self-awareness and compassion. When the value of mindful participation is taught at home and in a supportive school environment, young people can advance even more rapidly than adults and build empowering life habits.

Support Their Unique Experience

What is the goal of mindfulness? The goal is always the same, to be fully aware in this moment of your body and mind without judgment, and to act intentionally based on that self-awareness. There are many ways to achieve a state of mindfulness, and you and your child might have very different needs. Encourage your child to explore different techniques, like breathing, stretching, vocalizing, or exercising.

They might thrive in a structured environment like a yoga or martial arts class, or they might prefer to read and study at their own pace. Keep options open and available, and encourage their personal preferences as they practice understanding and supporting themselves. They might want your verbal coaching in stressful situations, or they may want a quiet and safe place to meditate in order to achieve mindfulness.

Educational Environments That Foster Mindfulness

Man writing on whiteboard

How does mindfulness help students learn? By improving their ability to focus and concentrate, mindfulness can improve academic performance and test scores. By increasing emotional intelligence and compassion, mindfulness helps students build strong relationships and social acceptance. These advantages are even more apparent in an individualized educational setting.

Some schools recognize the value of mindfulness training and encouragement in the classroom, and work with students to foster self-awareness and self-regulation as an integral part of their curriculum. At Lydian Academy, we are committed to the success of each student with an individualized approach to learning that encourages mutual respect and personal growth.

In a one-to-one learning model, teachers can move at the pace which best suits the student, and take time to stop and refocus with mindfulness exercises and guidance. Students can openly discuss distractions, feelings, or thoughts that are interfering with their learning, and instructors can make immediate accommodations or coach students in overcoming these challenges.

Taking a Mindful Approach to Your Child’s Education

Parent and teenager Studying

Taking an approach to learning that celebrates the individual differences that make each student unique allows Lydian Academy to offer a welcoming and inclusive experience for every child. On campus or through our virtual learning programs, every student is supported in their individual journey to academic and personal success.

Our mission is aligned to yours as a parent, to promote the personal growth and development of your child, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. With a fully customized learning plan for your middle or high school student, mindfulness modeling at home couples with reinforcement at school to help your child engage fully and achieve more.

Flexible schedules and rolling enrollment offer unique opportunities for parents who want to explore student-centered learning with accredited coursework, Mastery Learning, AP, and Early College High School. Contact us to enroll your child in grades 6-12, tour our campuses in Menlo Park and Burlingame, CA, or attend a virtual open house. Be in the moment while you contemplate your child’s future at Lydian Academy today.

Sources:

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12671-012-0094-5
  2. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/teaching-mindfulness-to-teenagers_b_5696247

We offer a unique year-round one-on-one learning experience, personalized to you and your schedule.

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