It is hard for children and teens to slow down in this busy, overscheduled world full of endless stimulation, entertainment and distraction. Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention to the present moment, on purpose. Practicing mindfulness exercises allows for that much-needed time to slow down, and simply be. Doing so fosters calmness, focused attention, self-control, and emotional & behavioral regulation.
Have you ever said to a child “You just need to calm down!” or “You just need to learn to control your temper?!” Me too! We all have! Just being able to calm down, or simply control your temper is actually a skill called self-regulation that requires a part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. Unfortunately, this part of the brain isn’t fully developed until adulthood. What's worse is that it doesn’t just develop in positive ways on its own, but is almost completely dependent on a child being raised in a nurturing home environment. Therefore, children growing up in poverty, or otherwise stressful home environments, often see a negative development of this part of the brain, which means students lack the ability to control their impulses, carry out tasks and, most importantly, absorb information. Fortunately, the same cognitive research shows us there's a way to build this part of the brain through mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness helps increase skills like self-regulation, executive function and focused attention while decreasing disruptive behaviors by equipping students with the skills of mental awareness and emotional control. I founded Calma to provide parents and educators the tools they need to practice mindfulness with children to create calmer, happier classrooms where more effective learning will occur.