Mindfulness for Kids: The How & Science-Backed Why

Mindfulness for Kids: The How & Science-Backed Why

by Amy Hadden Amy Hadden

Mindfulness isn’t just for grown-ups! Studies have shown that mindfulness can enhance the emotional and mental wellbeing of kids .

The Why: Science Shows Benefits of Mindfulness for Kids

  • A review of 17 studies found that mindfulness practices raised children’s sense of self-esteem (1).
  • Mindfulness influences a child’s emotional regulation. It changes both the structure and function of the brain. (2) Did someone say less meltdowns?!
  • Kids’ attention and focus are positively influenced by mindfulness. (3, 4)
  • Mindfulness may help with negative feelings from bullying. (5)

The How: 4 Easy Mindfulness Tools for Kids

  1. Bubbles: Grab that bottle of bubbles and wand and head outdoors. This childhood classic encourages slowed, focused breathing.
  2. Teddy Bear Breaths: This is perfect before bedtime. Have your child place a teddy bear (or other stuffed animal) on his or her stomach. Your child notices how the toy moves up and down with each inhale and exhale.
  3. Five Finger Mountain Breathing: This handy breathing tool is easily accessible. Have your child hold one palm outstretched. Pretend each finger is a mountain. Using the pointer finger from the opposite hand, have your child trace the outside of each finger “mountain.” Inhale going the mountain, and exhale going down.
  4. Sleepy 8 Breathing: Draw a figure 8 sideways, like an infinity sign like in the image below. Or, print this free download. Tell your child that the number 8 is laying on its side to feel relaxed. Draw a star at the center of the 8. Your child can calm his or her anxiety or tame a ramped up emotional state by breathing in and out while tracing the sleepy 8.
Health Coach Collective.com Sleepy 8 Mindful Breathing Guide for Kids

More Mindfulness Resources

You might also want to check out these mindfulness videos for kids, or take a gander at how 3 deep breaths can reduce your own stress.

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  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12671-015-0407-6

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5337506/

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4894866/

4. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12671-016-0660-3

5. https://naerjournal.ua.es/article/view/v7n1-1