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Sunday, October 30, 2016
The Many Benefits Of Meditation For Children
A piece on Upworthy.com last month featured a Baltimore school that’s replaced the classic sit-in-your-seat-and-suffer detention with a more progressive and effective form: one where kids learn to meditate. Far from the classic method of hoping that kids will spontaneously reevaluate their own behavior through punishment, teaching kids to focus on their breath and on the present moment may have a lot more value in the long run. But as one reader pointed out, teaching mediation outside of detention by infusing it into the school day as a matter of course is even better, and may help kids avoid the things that land them in detention in the first place.
The research on mediation and the developing brain (i.e., kids) is not quite as robust as it is in adults, but it’s starting to take off. Here are some of the benefits that research tells us mediation and mindfulness can offer kids.
One thing that grownups are perpetually concerned about in kids is attention. Studies have shown the effects of meditation on attention in adults with and without ADD/ADHD, and there’s some evidence that it can help kids focus, too. One 2004 study found that children with ADHD who learned meditation with their parents twice weekly in a clinic setting, and kept practicing at home, had better concentration at school, among other benefits. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for children (MBCT-C) has also been shown to help improve attention and behavior problems, and reduce anxiety in kids who started out with high anxiety levels. A study in 2013 showed that in boys with ADHD, an eight-week training in mindfulness, significantly reduced hyperactive behaviors and improved concentration. Other studies have pointed to similar results, and more are currently underway to continue exploring the connection. (MORE)