There are more stresses for 21 century kids than their parents faced, and more methods for treating them. The stress and anxiety being placed on kids is remarkable and it’s taking a toll on their well-being. Many kids who at one time would have been labeled as maybe having ants in their pants, or a “disciplinary problem” are now being medicated, sometimes over-medicated often unnecessarily. With the medication, is often a stigma of mental illness that often results in bullying and even the refusal of medication.
Many doctors are quick to prescribe medications without intense testing and more natural methods that can address certain symptoms. Much of the behaviors that are being treated are not at all a mental illness but rather, a result of stress from self induced pressures or those brought on by parents, schools, and society. Among the top stressors for kids are academic excellence and popularity. The need to keep up and excel academically is real. In some schools, discussions of colleges, entrance exams, and transcripts are occurring before kids even begin to hate and resent algebra.
There is plenty of data indicating benefits for kids meditating. It can boost their immune system, lower stress and help to create mindfulness. The immune system responds to both positive and negative feelings, meditation can create a positive mental space for the immune system to thrive. The mind-body connection is important and one that devotes time into regular meditation can possibly avoid a lifetime of medications.
For those kids that are what was once called high strung, a few minutes of daily meditation can help refocus energy and creativity. With proper breathing techniques, kids in particular can learn to calm themselves by temporarily disconnecting and returning restored and ready to take on more of the day. Generally improving mental health.
Some kids feel a difference with just one session of meditation a day while others may need more. Pediatricians mostly recommend just a few minutes per day for preschool children. For grade school kids, twice daily for 3-10 minutes for each session. For teens through adulthood, 5-45 minutes daily depending on preference.
The adoption of meditation is generally deemed to be safe, and many people have found great benefits. It is still recommended to discuss its use with your child’s pediatrician or health care professional.
While many people welcome the stillness of their meditation, others have a difficult time with it. For those with such difficulty, a movement based meditation such as Tai chi or Yoga may be a more viable option.
Meditation may not be the answer to address all of your child’s symptoms of stress, PTSD, or ADHD/ADD, but it is a great and healthy beginning.
It is said that the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to share mediation and its techniques with their children and for teachers to incorporate mindfulness training into their lessons. There is little doubt that by doing this we could help fight depression, obesity, and tension beginning at an early age. It would certainly be interesting to see if a short session of meditation before an exam would affect the grading.
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