Are kids these days mindful or are their minds just plain full? Are
they in the moment or multitasking? These days, most kids are constantly on the
go, preoccupied, and overwhelmed, but are they really able to focus and be
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention before the pandemic even started, depression and anxiety were on the rise in children ages 6-17. Research has since found kids to be more depressed, fatigued, uncertain of the future, overwhelmed, unable to focus and concentrate, deflated, hopeless, and less physically active. Mindfulness can help boost self-esteem, assist through daily challenges, and manage stress more effectively. Teaching kids to focus more on certain actions and techniques to increase mindfulness will benefit them throughout their entire lives.
I found a great quote about mindfulness, “Mindfulness is a practice that improves our wellbeing, helps us cope with stress, and reminds us how to fully enjoy life as it is.” Multitasking causes distractions and mistakes, creates stress, causes issues in school, and affects relationships. When kids calm their minds, they can focus better, improve learning skills, boost memory, stay on track with schedules, think more positively, be less fearful, increase gratitude and fulfillment, increase self-worth, and manage daily stressors more efficiently.
- Physical activity is vital for children for various reasons, and starting at a young age is best. Yoga is an activity that has been seen to greatly improve focus, concentration, and being in the moment. Also, completing a task like hitting a ball correctly in tennis can build confidence and a sense of self-worth in children.
- Stop and smell those roses. Being out in and connecting with nature has its own set of benefits with stress levels. It helps become more grounded and tranquil focusing on the “bigger picture” of life. So, if they can do their activity outside, they are getting a 2-for-1.
- Smartphones, iPads, and Chromebooks keep kid’s constantly “plugged in” more than ever before, and social media has its own set of issues, as it can cause more depression, anxiety, and self-esteem issues. Stress hormones like cortisol can affect memory and concentration significantly, so we need to teach kids to unplug and put devices away for periods of time for their brain and eyes to rest. The phone is an “active distraction,” and it’s important to take a “digital detox” especially when out in nature. This way they can disconnect from all the white noise of life and feel calmer.
- With instant gratification being so prevalent for kids, they rarely stop to allow themselves to feel bored, but being bored gives them the space to be calm, observe and experience at a higher level without filling the void with stimuli and distractions.
- Breathing exercises help quiet and focus the mind and decrease cortisol levels. Breathwork can easily be incorporated into their day while waiting in a line at school, on a bus, and walking through school halls. Certain apps can guide them through specific techniques.
- Journaling and gratitude lists assist with mindfulness and help lift spirits. Keeping a gratitude journal is a way to put more focus onto what they have versus feeling a lack of.
- Music and various hobbies have been seen to increase the hormone oxytocin which is associated with empathy, trust, and relationship-building, and may assist further with self-esteem.
- Volunteering and helping others puts the focus on thinking of and helping others which can increase feelings of positivity, gratitude, and self-worth.
Mindfulness has an incredible therapeutic effect. By reprogramming children’s minds to be more in the present moment through any of the methods mentioned, they can increase self-esteem and manage stress more effectively.