For decades, sending disobedient children to detention has been a common form of punishment at schools. Now, new research shows that there may be a better solution: mindfulness for kids.
Some examples of mindfulness in schools:
An elementary school in Baltimore, Maryland, recently made news for its innovative approach to discipline. They’ve established a “Mindful Moment Room.” The room is for children who have been sent out of their classrooms due to typical class disturbances, including pushing and name-calling. Their space is full of floor pillows and yoga mats, and the children participate in breathing exercises and yoga in order to calm down and improve their behavior. It’s believed that these mindful practices could be a better disciplinary measure than detention and may help reduce cases of suspensions and expulsions.
Detention, suspensions, and expulsions are often a disciplinary measure for unruly kids. According to a 2014 briefing from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, 3.5 million public elementary and secondary students have had in-school suspensions and over 130,000 have been expelled. It has been argued that suspensions can do a lot of harm to students—it may even contribute to school dropouts. There’s also the fact that racial minorities and children with disabilities are more likely to be subjected to suspensions than Caucasian students and students without disabilities.
So, it’s no surprise that more schools are taking a different approach, and mindfulness for kids is a great alternative solution.
Over the past decade, numerous studies show how mindfulness classes and programs effect students. A few years ago, a five-week mindfulness study was conducted in a California elementary school. Teachers found that their students were better at paying attention and respecting others after participating in the mindfulness curriculum. In a different study, high school students participated in an eight-week mindfulness meditation program. Afterward, the researchers talked to the students and the students reported that meditation could relieve stress. It also improved the school climate.
Mindfulness for Kids
There is a lot of potential in school-based mindfulness classes. Also they could be useful to all children, whether they have disciplinary problems or not. Would mindfulness be a benefit to your children? Consider the two tips listed below.
Make your children’s school participate
If you think mindfulness classes will benefit your child and their classmates, start a discussion with other parents, teachers, and members of the parent-teacher council. See if you can start yoga or meditation classes after school.
Create mindfulness practices for the whole family
Mindfulness starts at home. Consider starting a few stress-relieving practices to help your children find their center and improve their performance in school. Also, meditation, establishing morning rituals, exercise, and reading can also help relieve stress for the whole family. Find more tips here.