The Benefits of Meditation for Children
By Kaitlyn Gibson NP
It’s important for children of all ages to be able to find time during their days to unwind and de-stress. Recent pediatric studies have found connections between daily meditative approaches for kids with improved mental and physical wellness. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly encourages families, schools, providers and communities to find ways to implement mindfulness and meditation practices into everyday life. Meditation can vary in type and approach, and one method might appeal more to one child as opposed to another. The most common practices of meditation can be divided into different yet interconnected approaches. These include more commonly known methods such as concentration on words/images, mindfulness and focusing on breathing, and movement-associated meditation (i.e. yoga/tai chi). The table below, taken directly from the AAP-affiliated site “Healthychildren.org” divides these categories up and provides examples of each.
A recent clinical report conducted by the AAP discovered that “mind-body therapies and practices” (such as yoga/meditation, mindfulness) were successfully used to help reduce stress/anxiety, improve concentration/attention (showing benefits for children diagnosed with ADHD) and school performance, combat sleep disturbances, and help with children/adolescents struggling with depression or eating disorders. This study is a breakthrough for providers, in that more non-pharmacologic methods can be viable options. In addition, meditation, specifically mindfulness, has been correlated with benefiting physical ailments, such as gastrointestinal disorders, high blood pressure, headaches, obesity, and pain sensitivity. As a young provider in her first year as a pediatric nurse practitioner, I work with patients who struggle with daily stressors, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, as well as physiological illnesses. For my patients, I have strongly encouraged the use of daily meditation, particularly focusing on deep breathing, mindfulness techniques, and movement based approaches with success. I have even combined these techniques with the ever-growing availability of electronics to patients, more specifically adolescents. A phone application I strongly recommend to teens is called “Headspace,” which provides people a “digital service of guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training.” It gives people, through their phone, tablet, or computer, ten daily meditation sessions for free. After these sessions, they have the option to start monthly/yearly subscriptions or continue to use free content. Patients have praised its easy accessibility and its less time-consuming audio/video sessions to help with sleep, anxiety, depression, as well as more acute issues such as calming down before an exam or dealing with a recent family stressor.
There are multiple apps/online videos that parents and children can find that also provide daily mediation breaks. Meditation practices can be implemented at home, in school environments, as well as with licensed counselors through contacting your pediatrician. Children of all ages can find use in these methods, though the approaches vary. Providers suggest children as early as preschool years could benefit from using a few minutes per day of deep breathing, particularly when working through timeouts/behavior issues. Meditation use for all ages via breathing concentration and focusing of muscle contracting/relaxation before bed can help with winding down before sleep. Like mentioned previously in this article, these methods are easily accessible and have shown possible benefits for children with the addition of being safe. Various phone apps, websites, books and audiobooks are just some of the tools available for families to try. Below are some recommended sites families can take a peek at! Relax, enjoy the summer, and happy meditating!
AAP Mind-Body Therapies
Yoga for Kids
We’ve been experimenting with zoodles! These are “noodles” made from spiralized zucchini. If you want to cook them microwaving for 2-4 minutes works well or you can toss in a heated frying pan with a little cooking spray or oil. Then add your favorite sauce and meatballs!
They can also be made into a cold side dish using any salad dressing.
A favorite in our house is a Thai inspired peanut dressing.
1 tablespoon Peanut butter (we use all natural peanut only)
1/3 cup Rice vinegar
1/2 cup Fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon Crushed red pepper flakes
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons Sesame oil
1 spiralized carrot (optional)
Mix together in a bowl and pour over zoodles. Let sit at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator to absorb flavor. Adjust the ingredients to suit your own taste. Toss and serve!
There are many spiralizers to choose from. The handheld ones tend be less expensive. You can make other vegetable noodles too!
Name: Katie “Gibs” Gibson
Hometown: Norfolk, MA
Hobbies: running, singing karaoke with my sister, basketball
Pets: fish and some sea urchins
Food: anything off of the Chili’s menu
Subject in school: Biology
Superhero: Spider-Man or Blade
Musician: LCD Soundsystem
Vacation spot: Mashpee @ the Cape
For the 3rd year in a row, the FREE ONSET FILM FESTIVAL, a project of Cultural Connection of Greater Wareham, presents Free Movies every Thursday evening. Activities begin at 7PM, the films start at dusk, at the Greggerman Band Shell in Onset, MA. the schedule is as follows:
6/29 BEAUTY & the BEAST ~ 2017
7/6 ANT MAN
7/20 JUNGLE BOOK
8/3 GOOSE BUMPS
8/10 SECRET LIFE OF PETS
8/17 DR. STRANGE
In the event of rain, the movie will be held at the Onset VFW 4 Gibbs Ball Park Rd., Onset, MA
Marion Mile for Kids
Take me out to the ball game!
The Wareham Gatemen games are fun and free! Gatemen
Happy 4th of July!
The best way to enjoys fireworks is when they are done by the professionals. Here’s where you can catch some great displays around the state! Mass Fireworks
The Doctor is In
What kind of bug spray can I use for my child and where can I put it?
This is a common question this time of year as parents try to protect their children from the discomfort and itching of bug bites and also avoid tick and mosquito bites to prevent more serious illnesses such as lyme disease, west nile virus infection, or EEE. Over the years, fears of DEET have led to the marketing of natural or organic insect repellents that are non-toxic. While the idea of using non-toxic insect repellents on children sounds like a good idea, the bottom line is they are not very effective. DEET containing insect repellents are the most effective topical sprays on the market. The amount of DEET in a product correlates with how long it repels insects. Low DEET products work for approximately 2 hours, so if you are going on a walk or will be outside for a short period of time, that may be all you need. However, if you are going to be spending several hours outside, or are outside at dawn or dusk, it is best to use a product containing 20% DEET. There are products which containing higher amounts of DEET but there is no proof that products containing 30% or more DEET are more effective. For children under 2 months of age, no insect repellents are recommended. To protect the young children we recommend using physical barriers such as netting. If you would like to read more information about this topic, we recommend following this link.
53 Marion Road
Wareham, MA 02571