It's always exciting when scientific studies start to show what we already know about meditation. A number of studies held in the past five years are now starting to quantify how mindfulness and meditation practices are beneficial for elementary school-aged children. In a recent blog post on the New York Times Wellness Blog, one study showed that meditation over a period of 4 weeks improved children's executive functioning and even improved math grades. Furthermore, a different scientific review published in March concluded that meditation can positively change the structure of the brain to improve academic performance.
Studies also showed that Meditation can also have the greatest effect on the cognition of the brain if it's done during childhood, due to the plasticity of the brain during that time. Thus, the earlier one meditates, the more effective the impact is on one's brain development.
Some scientists also shared personal examples of how mindfulness practices have supported and improved the lives of their children. For example, one scientist who practices Transcendental Meditation (TM) cited that she's noticed her 9-year-old daughter turning to mindfulness centering techniques of her own volition when she finds herself getting emotional. Thus, her daughter is able to better self-regulate her emotions.
Another researcher shared a similar observation regarding meditation and her son who has A.D.H.D and bi-polar disorder. She has seen that when he takes a moment to focus on a mindfulness exercise, he is able to resolve his mood swings or anger with more ease.
Ultimately, by teaching children mindfulness meditation - parents and teachers are providing children with the tools to learn how to process emotions better and relate to the world with more focus and self-control. These are tools that will benefit anyone for a lifetime.
Article written by Rajmani Sinclair, May 11, 2016