As an emerging social worker, I look forward to incorporating mindfulness-based techniques into my work with youth. Children experience sensory overload throughout their busy days, just like adults. Techniques such as yoga and meditation aid in calming the stress an individual’s sympathetic nervous system undergoes. Stress is a natural part of our body’s response system to any kind of change, demand, or threat. Our body experiences this chemical reaction to protect us, but too much stress can be damaging to anyone no matter the age. Yoga and meditation are universal tools that can be adjusted to best fit the individual engaging in the practice, making it perfect for children. Individuals who are unfamiliar with meditation may believe this can only be done sitting crossed legged on a mat. While some people may choose this style of meditation it is not the limit. You can introduce mindfulness to the children in your life in the following ways:

  • Gratitude exercises which create space for thankfulness and joy
  • Walking and stretching/Spending time in nature
  • Breathing exercises
  • Arts and crafts/Coloring
  • Reciting chants/mantras
  • Bedtime meditation music

Youth mental and physical wellness is important as they grow and develop. Through practicing these mindfulness-based techniques children can have a moment in the day where they step outside of their daily commotion and expectations (i.e. schoolwork, chores, extracurricular activities). Yoga and meditation not only enforce stillness, but also contribute to a positive mind-body connection, emotion regulation, and increased patience. There are so many fun and creative exercises children can engage in while supporting a healthy mental and physical well-being.

— Shakyra King