Benefits of Mindfulness for Children

Learn the benefits of a peaceful state of mind for children and practices that can help them achieve mindfulness.

| September 2018

  • mindful children
    Mindfulness has beneficial effects on the overall well-being of children. Science has shown that just ten minutes a day of mindfulness practice can produce an impact on children’s well-being
    Photo by Getty/Fatcamera
  • book cover
    “Mindfulness for Children” by Tracy L. Daniel is a guide for introducing practices of mindfulness to children so they can learn to reduce stress, regulate behavior and emotions, and develop a positive self-image.
    Cover courtesy Simon and Schuster

  • mindful children
  • book cover

Mindfulness for Children (Simon and Schuster, 2018) by Tracy L. Daniel is a guide for explaining and practicing the art of being present and the positive benefits for children learning to be mindful. Learning mindfulness enables children to deal with their emotions in a balanced healthy way. Daniel explains the science of mindfulness along with strategies and practices easy for teaching children that are simple, inexpensive, and not time-consuming.

What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness for Children?

There are myriad ways that mindfulness can improve anyone's overall well-being. But what are some benefits specific to children's daily lives? First, mindfulness activities are great for kids because they:

  • Are easy to introduce.
  • Take little time to implement.
  • Are inexpensive.
  • Can be done anytime and anywhere. (The mindfulness strategies in this book are perfect for home, school, and public places.)
  • Are fun! Incorporating fun enhances the learning process and helps kids learn the skill faster.

Beyond these logistics, mindfulness offers countless benefits for kids' bodies and minds. Let's look more in depth at some of the physical and mental benefits of mindfulness in children.

Executive Functioning

Executive function is a term that encompasses a range of skills — working memory, perspective-taking, decision-making, emotional regulation, problem- solving, planning, and impulse control. It provides the foundation for all educational and social activities. When children are under stress, it is harder for them to access executive functioning skills to make wise decisions. If the stress they experience is chronic, executive function can be more seriously impaired, leading to problems with learning, memory impairment, and behavior issues.

Science has proved that mindfulness practice can strengthen executive functioning. That's because repeated mindfulness practice actually builds neural pathways in the brain, and these create habits and automatic responses. A consistent mindfulness practice changes neural pathways to neural superhighways, making executive functioning more accessible to children in times of stress. For example, say that a classmate takes a toy from your child. Instead of yelling and grabbing it back (which might be prompted by an old neural pathway), your child may instead automatically refer to a mindfulness practice and take deep breaths before asking if they can have back the toy that they were using.

Here are some of the recognized benefits that mindfulness can provide for your child's executive functioning:

  • Improves working memory (temporary storage and managing of information to carry out cognitive tasks)
  • Reduces impulsivity
  • Promotes planning and organization skills
  • Develops ability to initiate and monitor one's own actions
  • Encourages cognitive flexibility (considering other points of view)
  • Builds emotional intelligence (the ability to notice and manage one's own emotions)
  • Enhances skills that lead to thoughtful decision-making

Mental Health

Simple mindfulness strategies like the ones in this book can provide children with tools to assist them in counteracting any stress, distractions, and anxiety they encounter in their daily lives. Numerous studies have even demonstrated that children with a variety of conditions — such as depression, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and eating disorders — benefit from practicing mindfulness. Science has shown that well-conducted mindfulness practices can reduce the symptoms of these conditions and help children be calm, resilient, and happy.

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