In a recent article I was reading from Outsideonline, they were discussing the case for teaching meditation for kids in schools. Being a strong proponent for meditation and mindfulness in everyone, I of course had my interest piqued. It’s not something we’ve covered before, and children are not always the focus of meditation studies, but it’s nonetheless a great issue to discuss. Here’s why:
Kids are stressed out, too.
It’s no secret that we have, as a whole, too many stressors in life. Appointments, jobs, deadlines, etc, ensure that almost no one is immune to stress (in fact, according to the American Psychological Association, more than half of Americans state our lives are getting more stressful). Our children are hardwired to emulate us, to look up to us – so it’s also not surprising that many children are also subject to the same stressors that we see on a daily basis. It’s important to teach ways of dealing with stress that are healthy at a young age, so these coping techniques can be used early and be brought into adulthood.
Mindfulness can especially help children with certain issues where they lack focus. By teaching kids how to be present in the moment and focus on the here and now, kids may be able to naturally control impulsivity and pay closer attention to their tasks at hand. Increased patience in children is another benefit. These benefits of mindfulness, focus and attention, have shown to lead to an increase in cognitive testing in adults, but children have yet to be studied.
That brings up the biggest point, as well as the most contested one, too: should we be teaching meditation to kids? There is already a outspoken contingent that has so far kept it out of our curriculum, and its largely attributed to being misunderstood. However, as mindfulness and meditation’s benefits become more and more developed and known, I expect that our kids will come to adopt these practices in their curriculum.