Mindfulness in children

A baby wearing a black and white striped onesie with white question marks all around him suggesting mindfulness in children

Have you ever considered what is most crucial for a child’s development? It is up to parents and teachers to develop activities for children that will help them become more aware and happier in life. Some simple actions can do wonders for a child’s brain, helping them grow into focused adults. Mindfulness in children provides immediate benefits that can be enjoyed as they grow into adults.

Children go through different stages of learning, each with their own challenges. The best method for coping with these issues is to teach children to accept responsibility, stay calm in all situations and find suitable solutions. Schools have incorporated mindfulness practice for children into their regular curriculum, and the outcomes have been extremely positive. Mindfulness benefits mental health and can help children study more effectively. Let’s look at how mindfulness can improve a child’s mental and physical health. 

What is mindfulness? 

Mindfulness is paying attention to what is going on around you without passing judgement. An attentive child understands how to deal with ideas, emotions and situations while staying calm. It also involves understanding how children deal with challenges and how stress can interfere with learning. 

Different mindfulness group activities help to build approaches that are accessible, varied, and flexible for young children. You may be asking, “What is the point of mindfulness practice?” Let’s look at how mindful meditation can improve a child’s general wellbeing and development. 

A little girl in front of a beige wall with her eyes closed while smiling and pointing to question marks, representing mindfulness in children

How mindfulness in children helps them

Being mindful allows children to cope with frustration when they’re faced with something difficult in their lives, or when they need to focus their attention on something specific without allowing distractions to derail them. The more children practise being mindful, the better they get at it. Childhood is a crucial stage in the developmental process because what happens during this life phase lays the foundation for future mental health. 

Mindfulness has proven benefits. Research shows that practising mindfulness can improve attention spans for just about anyone—including young people with ADHD who often have trouble paying attention. Research has also shown that when mindfulness is used in schools, it provides a range of cognitive, emotional and social benefits. 

Cognitive Advantages 

According to studies, training children in mindfulness improves cognitive skills, particularly the executive tasks conducted by the brain. Executive functions govern how we pay attention, switch focus, organise information, remember details and make plans. 

For instance, one study followed a group of third-grade pupils for eight weeks as they practised mindfulness through a school-implemented programme. Researchers discovered that when compared to a control group, those who participated could better manage their actions and focus on the work at hand. 

In another study, students who participated in a four-week mindfulness programme outperformed their elementary school peers on attention-based activities. Similarly, a preschool study discovered that those who participated in a mindfulness curriculum performed better on academic performance exams and in areas that predict future academic performance.

A girl sitting in a play area looking through a wooden triangle she's holding

Emotional Advantages 

Emotional health, often known as a positive sense of wellbeing, is vital to every child’s existence. It’s not only the foundation of mental health but may also help prevent anxiety, stress, and depression, as well as increase self-esteem and social connections. 

Overall, being attentive or engaging in mindfulness exercises helps students not only manage stress but also boost their personal sense of wellbeing. One study discovered, for example, that students who engaged in a mindfulness programme were more likely to report feeling hopeful. 

Another study found that preteens reported feeling calmer, getting better sleep and having a greater sense of wellbeing after completing a five-week mindfulness and stress-reduction programme. 

Social Advantages 

Difficulties connecting and talking with others can cause learning, comprehension, and school climate issues. However, mindfulness programmes are proven to increase these skills and contribute to beneficial outcomes in the classroom. For example, a five-week mindfulness programme at an elementary school resulted in more involvement in classroom activities. Meanwhile, a mindfulness programme in a high school aided in the development of mutual regard and care among pupils, as well as the overall school climate. 

Other Advantages 

Mindfulness can improve a child’s or adolescent’s ability to manage emotions and experience compassion and empathy. It is also commonly regarded as an excellent treatment for people of all ages suffering from aggressiveness, ADHD or other mental health issues, such as anxiety. It can even be used to lessen the traumatic consequences of bullying. 

Mindfulness can also be used to develop one’s self-image, increase planning abilities and manage impulses. When applied effectively in schools, mindfulness can reduce the frequency of visits to the principal’s office, minimising school bullying and enhancing attendance. 

A toddler wearing a purple onesie standing beside a table with her hands up

Overall, mindfulness encourages children and adolescents to focus on their own thoughts and actions and learn how to make better decisions. They’re no longer reacting to their surroundings – instead responding to them thoughtfully and purposefully. 

Finally, when children and adolescents realise that they can regulate their thoughts, feelings and behaviours, they make better choices and feel more in control of their decision-making processes. 

Activities to support mindfulness in children

Children of all ages need a clear and concentrated mind in order to study and achieve their goals more effectively. Experts have developed several mindfulness practices for kids to make this possible. It can not only help them study better, but it can also help them cope with anxiety and difficult situations. Investigate some of these contemplative practices for children: 

Being approachable 

The first and most crucial step in meditation and mindfulness for a child is to be their friend. It is entirely up to you how you make a child feel at ease with you. Participate in any activities that they wish to learn. Try to resist being judgemental or rebuking them because if you make them fearless, they will understand better.  

Drawing with intention 

Drawing and sketching are activities that help with concentration. Children devote themselves to reaching their goal by doing something different when they move a pen or pencil across the paper. You can start with doodling, then progress to smooth drawing practice, colouring and sketching things from their surroundings. Drawing also provides a vacation from tension for children. 

 A toddler wearing a yellow jacket, jeans and rubber shoes kicking a soccer ball

Walking through a maze 

A maze accurately depicts life’s hardships as we face the situation and go through a thought process to discover the best solution. It also teaches children that there’s always a solution to any difficulty that arises. Walking a maze is one of several mindfulness activities that can teach children a lot. They can practise managing their emotional responses, focus and find appropriate answers. Don’t leave children alone in this exercise because their participation yields better outcomes. 

Yoga and breathing exercises 

Yoga and breathing exercises are relaxing for both the mind and body. Research indicates anxiety is one of the most frequent mental health concerns for children and adults, affecting over 20% of children and adolescents over their lifespan. Experts recommend yoga for stress relief in both children and adults. 

 A back shot of a girl holding hands with her stuffed teddy bear as they sit on a log

The benefits of mindfulness in children are clear

A growing body of evidence suggests that teaching mindfulness to children aids learning, decision making, emotional intelligence, self-confidence, and social connection.  

By simply paying full attention in the present moment, mindfulness brings calm concentration without judgement – and helps children manage illnesses such as autism spectrum disorder, challenging behaviours, ADHD, anxiety, and stress. Mindfulness also helps people stay calm under stress, avoid getting too upset, get along better with others and be more patient. 

Practising mindfulness can help children and teens learn how to manage stress, regulate their emotions, focus on the task at hand, and develop a positive outlook on life. It also gives them a better understanding of how their brains work. There’s a chance they’ll start wondering about their emotions and how they work, which may lead to a more in-depth comprehension of who they are. 

Overall, people who learn to practice mindfulness are able to pay attention better and are less easily distracted. It can even impact learning, helping children and teens become better listeners and feel happier.  

Image Icon

Zeus Martinez

Marketing Content Specialist

Wordsmith and storyteller at heart. Writing professionally since 2005. Living and breathing in the childcare education sector as a marketing copywriter for Discover by Xplor.

Close modal icon
Image of YU

Fill in the form to get started with Discover by Xplor.