The New York Times posted “Mindfulness for Children” on 10-28-17. This is part of their ongoing Well blog series, which provides excellent summaries of recent research and developments of interest to the general population interested in health issues. This article reviews potential benefits of mindfulness training for children, including helping them learn self-control, soothe themselves when anxious, and can promote positive attitudes.
The article puts this in the context of neurological development, as infants and children are going through developmental stages which include developing brain circuits for self-control, self-soothing, empathy and compassion, and other important skills that may be impacted by mindfulness meditation training. The other points out, however, that the training can’t be “outsourced, in the best source is parents and caregivers who have a mindfulness practice of their own. The author recommends starting a basic mindfulness practice during the first year of a child’s life. This may seem radical, but the author provides some basic and” doable” tips for doing this, such as being in the present when with a baby, staying calm even when the babies upset, detaching from difficult situations including the baby’s difficult behavior, and being grateful for the presence of your baby, and your experiences with your baby.
MHConcierge’s take: All of this seems wise and doable, and you do not have to become a Zen monk in order to help your child.
The article is available online for free, but if you view more than a few on the site you may need to subscribe to access more.