Posted Dec 26, 2018
The holiday season is in full swing. For some that may signify that “all is calm, all is bright.” For others, it can be a very challenging time. In a recent PBS news survey, more than a third of U.S. adults identified the holidays as a source of significant stress. While kids tend to revel in the holiday hubbub, they too can be effected by the overload of activities, expectations, and sweets.
Of course the holidays, aren’t the only time anxiety levels rise. Our fast-paced wired lives leave us vulnerable to stress 365 days of the year. So, how can we and our children get back to that “all is calm” feeling? A growing body of research shows that meditation and mindful practices may be the key. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents share meditation practices with children, starting with preschoolers. Meditation and mindfulness are also useful tools in classrooms. The Shorewood School District is one of many school systems throughout the country to integrate such practices into classroom activities.
The proven benefits of mindfulness and meditation practices for children (and adults) are many including -
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased attention and focus, often resulting in better grades
- Improved physical health
- Better sleep
- Improved resilience and coping skills resulting in increased self-esteem
Although, it may seem like a lofty endeavor, it is easy to add developmentally appropriate mindful and meditation practices to your family routines. First, set the example and embrace the practices yourself. Turn off all electronics for quiet times. Incorporate slow deep breathing into bedtime routines. Remind children to practice deep breathing when they feel themselves becoming upset. Take a “listening walk” together focusing on the sounds and sights you see. Cook together, exploring the textures, smells, and tastes of different foods. Physically active children may enjoy mindful exercise such as yoga and tai-chi. Share books to introduce the idea of mindfulness to your children.Check out our booklist of recent titles.
As the holiday season winds down and the New Year dawns, resolve to make 2019 a calmer, brighter year for you and your children.
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