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Help Kids Tackle Stress with Mindfulness

Army Col. Roger Waters spends time with his daughters. (Defense Department photo by Samantha L. Quigley)

This article is part of a series on the practice of mindfulness. The series focuses on programs and therapies proven to help improve psychological health and overall well-being.

Stress doesn’t discriminate. We often think of stress as an adult issue, but children experience it too. Children in the military may experience even more stress because of the constant changes of military life, such as relocations, new schools, making new friends, deployments, or injuries of a loved one.

We can’t shield our children from stress entirely, but we can help them learn relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness, to find relief and regain control of their emotions.

Through a PDF: review of studies, the Pennsylvania State University’s Prevention Research Center suggests that nurturing mindfulness in children may be an effective method to build resilience, as well as to treat certain disorders. These studies consistently showed that mindfulness can improve children’s behavior and overall health.

How to Teach Your Kids Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be more than quiet time; it can be fun and interactive. These tips and resources can help teach your children how to practice mindfulness:

  • Teach yourself to meditate mindfully: It’s hard to teach something we don’t know. To encourage a mindfulness practice in your family, establish your own practice first.
  • Get tips from the pros: The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California in Berkley offers tips and language to teach kids mindfulness.
  • Learn from other families: See what other kid-friendly ideas people are talking about on informational websites like Pinterest or Mind Body Green.
  • Check out sample lessons: Mindful Schools offers sample lessons kids can use in the classroom or at home.

Backed by Research

Want to learn more? For additional information about research, data and the benefits of mindfulness practices with children, check out these sites:

  • Mindfulness in Education Research Highlights: The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkley provides an overview of mindfulness studies conducted in 2014.
  • Mindfulness-Based Adventure Camp for Military Youth: This study looks at the findings from two mindfulness-based adventure camps for military youth. The results suggest that mindfulness tools could be used to help cope with stress.
  • Child Mind Institute: Shares studies and information on how a meditation practice can help kids become less anxious and more focused.
  • Mindful Youth: Compilation of research that supports the efficacy of mindfulness as a means to improve the lives of young people.

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This page was last updated on: September 14, 2017.