Mindfulness has become almost a buzzword in our culture. Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment without judgment. Current research has found that there are practical applications for mindfulness in therapy. Karen Hooker and Iris Fodor’s 2008 article on mindfulness and children provides practical examples for how to teach children mindfulness skills.
Children and adolescents often times can be distracted and forgetful because they are not paying attention. It would be difficult to count on one hand how many children and adolescents have their minds wander throughout the day even when they are supposed to be focused and attentive. Most children, especially young children, are able to stay in the present moment and focus on their five senses. Teaching children and adolescents how to use mindfulness skills is not something that is all that foreign to them.
It is essential that prior to teaching any client mindfulness skills the therapist address any questions clients might have. Since the attention span for many children is shorter than that of an adult a therapist would start by doing an exercise that was 5 minutes or less. It should be noted that clients that are very anxious might not always be appropriate for these exercises because it could increase their anxiety.
Teaching simple mindfulness techniques to children and adolescents it can help them with their attention and focus. This could also improve the memory of children and adolescents who practice mindfulness. Mindfulness can also be useful in teaching children and adolescents to be more self-aware and practice self-control. This can help children have a better understating of how they experience the world around them. There is still a lot for us to learn about mindfulness but, it is evident that it can be a helpful tool in counseling children and adolescents.
For further information or to schedule an appointment, please call Specialized Therapy Associates at 201.488.6678 for details.