Top 3 Reasons to Practice Mindfulness With Your Child

As parents, one of our main goals is to raise happy and healthy kids. We're constantly on the lookout for parenting tips and products that keep us on the path to achieve that aim. When I learned that neuroscientific research is pointing to the view that happiness and well-being are skills that can be developed through practice and training, I grew intrigued. The research highlighted mindfulness meditation as a tool to improve well-being, and as I delved further into the research, I began to uncover the myriad of benefits of introducing mindfulness to children at an early age. 

Building the skill of mindfulness, so that it can be applied to everyday life, has many benefits. Neuroscientists at Harvard University have found that practicing mindfulness regularly over an 8-week period can cause the brain to have more positive thoughts and emotions. This in turn can lead to improved well-being and quality of life. Specifically, those who practice mindfulness may notice:
  • increased self-confidence and sense of optimism
  • improved social skills, including awareness of self and relationships better sensory awareness
  • enhanced ability to self-regulate and manage emotions in difficult situations
  • reduced levels of stress and anxiety, with an ability to more quickly find stillness and calm
  • higher capacity to concentrate and focus, as well as improved memory
  • greater acceptance and connection with the world
Who wouldn't want their children to experience these benefits?

Here are the top 3 reasons to introduce your child to mindfulness:

1. Younger brains are more impressionable. While brains evolve and change throughout a person's lifetime, there are certain periods of development in which a child's brain will more easily change and adapt as a result of experiences they have. These periods are "between birth and 2 years of age, between 4 and 6 years of age, and around puberty." As such, introducing children to mindfulness practices early can increase the likelihood that they form and reorganize synaptic connections that positively influence their brains.  

2. Help children self-regulate and understand their emotions. As children navigate this world, they look to the adults in their lives for guidance and help. Sometimes life can be overwhelming, especially when they can't make sense of it. Anchoring them in a daily mindfulness routine will provide them with the tools to effectively understand and manage their emotions, such that life isn't a thing that is happening to them. Through mindful movement, breathing, observation, and gratitude practices, children can more easily tap into the present moment, find calm, and experience joy. It may even help reduce the number of tantrums or help them more quickly recover from meltdowns!

3. Tune into the present moment and improve focus. Children are born with a natural knack for being present. Their curiosity helps them take in all the details of their surroundings. So when we introduce them to mindfulness practices, it's not so much to teach them anything new, but rather to help them remember their inherent ability to tune in to what's happening within and around them. Practicing mindfulness with your child will help them develop their sensory awareness, as well as increase the amount of gray matter in their hippocampus, a region in the brain that is associated with memory and emotion. They will learn how to pay attention in a sustained way and will be empowered to make choices around when and where they focus their attention. 

On a personal level, practicing mindfulness over the years has been transformational. I have found that taking a few minutes each day to observe and reflect through the practice of mindfulness helps me feel more confident and energized throughout the day, giving me the space to respond to situations with greater self-awareness and acceptance. As a parent who wants all these things for my little one, I am excited to introduce Mindful Moments, a series of everyday, easy-to-follow mindfulness exercises and affirmations for parents / caregivers and their little ones. 

Help your child achieve greater well-being and happiness by beginning your mindfulness meditation and compassion practices with Mindful Moments everyday exercises and mantras. 

1 comment

  • Thank you, Kaajal for the gift you have given my granddaughter , Noelle and her family. She is 8 and her brother just turned 12 this past week. Their mom, Cecilia is a Kindergarten teacher at Hidden Trails school in our neighborhood. It seems from your blog that the practice of mindfulness will be an especially useful tool to find calm and even find joy in this stressful time. I hope you are well , healthy and stay safe with your husband and cutie pie, son. Your neighbor , Lisa.

    Elisa Acosta

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