I’ve heard it said that children don’t need to learn meditation and other mindfulness practices.
There are those that say that children are already mindful of the present moment. It’s said that kids don’t have as many random worries that take them out of the present moment, that ‘Be Here Now’ is something that we need to learn after we grow up.
When my daughter asks for candy and I tell her no, or when my son fights me over whether or not he should go sit on the potty, they are being mindful of the present moment, aren’t they? My daughter isn’t becoming distracted by the past and the future in the moment that she’s throwing a fit.
So, at first, the philosophy that children don’t need to learn to be mindful seems true. The renowned Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki said that we need to develop a ‘Beginner’s Mind’ and who has more of that than children?
These are good points, but I respectfully disagree.
The benefits of mindfulness are numerous. Including, but not limited to:
improving ability to concentrate
improving self control
Anyone that thinks that adults are the only ones who need help with those things hasn’t been around children all that much. Obviously, concentration and memory are great things to improve in school age children. They can get ahead early on in school. Self control is a good think to learn early too. A lot of people struggle with it all their lives.
When a child throws a fit, they are in the present moment, but they aren’t truly being mindful. They aren’t thinking clearly; just as when we adults are angry and stressed out, we don’t always think clearly.
And mental illness? Can mindfulness cure it in children?
Probably not. But, in the world now children are prescribed medications at an ever-increasing rate. I would recommend trying mindfulness practices with your children before resorting to putting them on medication. I’ve taught mindfulness practices to children with ADHD and mild cases of autism and their parents have told me that it helped.
I suffered from anxiety as a child and wasn’t really treated. I wish I had learned mindfulness then; and so, my children are learning it (just in case).
Want 15 free additional reads weekly, just our best?
Ed: Sara Crolick
hot on elephant
Elephant Journal’s Holiday Gift Guide 636 shares A letter to the Anger that refuses to Leave Me. 612 shares Waylon’s favorite Ethical Gifts. 13 shares Learn Social Media, Writing, Editing & Journalism Ethics with elephantjournal.com. 3 shares The Real Reason so many Long-term Relationships Fail Sexually. 1,070 share Dear Pretty Young Woman Flirting with my Husband. 2,220 shares Year of the Fire Rooster 2017: What to Expect. 1,008 share Why a Year of No Dating was the Best Thing I ever did for Myself. 8,290 shares These Tweets (and Retweets) actually Happened. 1,392 share If you Want Him, you must Claim Him. 772 shares