1 IN 7 CHILDREN AGED BETWEEN 4- 17 YEARS HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS.
50% HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH ANXIETY
1 IN 2 CHILDREN IN EACH AUSTRALIA CLASSROOM HAVE A DIAGNOSED ANXIETY DISORDER.
Anxiety is the bodies response to perceived danger!
Children of all ages can benefit from mindfulness, the simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment. It can help parents and caregivers, too, by promoting happiness and relieving stress. Here, we offer basic tips for children and adults of all ages, as well as several activities that develop compassion, focus, curiosity and empathy. And remember, mindfulness can be fun.
What Is Mindfulness, and Why Do Kids Need It?
From our earliest moments, mindfulness can help minimize anxiety and increase happiness.
The reason why mindfulness is so effective for children can be explained by the way the brain develops. While our brains are constantly developing throughout our lives, connections in the prefrontal circuits are created at their fastest rate during childhood. Mindfulness, which promotes skills that are controlled in the prefrontal cortex, like focus and cognitive control, can therefore have a particular impact on the development of skills including self-regulation, judgment and patience during childhood.
Children are uniquely suited to benefit from mindfulness practice. Habits formed early in life will inform behaviors in adulthood, and with mindfulness, we have the opportunity to give our children the habit of being peaceful, kind and accepting.
How a growth mindset can benefit your child
A research study by Carol Dweck, a professor of developmental psychology at Stanford University and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, offered a group of four year olds a choice: they could either redo an easy jigsaw puzzle or try a harder one. “Even these young children conformed to the characteristics of one of the two mindsets,” explains Carol. “Those with a ‘fixed’ mentality opted for the familiar option again, happy in the knowledge they would succeed.
Those with the ‘growth’ mindset thought it a strange choice initially, confused as to why anyone would want to do the same puzzle over and over if they aren’t learning anything new. In other words, the fixed-mindset kids wanted to make sure they succeeded in order to seem smart,” Carol continues, “whereas the growth-mindset ones wanted to stretch themselves, for their definition of success was about becoming smarter.”
Along with the obvious academic benefits, adopting a growth mindset can change a person’s perception of themself entirely. Picture the child who feels as if he has no control over his abilities, and is helpless in the face of setbacks. Imagine how disheartened he may feel if he finds something difficult, which could lead to low self-esteem and a sense that there’s no point trying at anything because he’ll just fail. Long-term, this could lead to disruptive behaviour and discipline problems. Then picture the child who believes they can bounce back from failure, who relishes a challenge as an opportunity. This child is engaged in their school work, is more likely to perform well and succeed.