Most of the time, when children act out by kicking and screaming expletives, it is because they do not understand what they are going through, and cannot find a better way to release their feelings. When a child acts out, know that it is most likely because they are struggling to understand complex emotions that they are feeling for the first time in their lives.
Schools in England have started to tackle this problem in a new way, and that is by teaching mindfulness and meditation in the classroom to improve the youth’s overall mental health. In 370 schools across the country, children will be taught how to meditate, techniques for muscle relaxation and breathing exercises for mindfulness. The secondary school students will also get a more hands-on education to learn about awareness and how to increase this in their everyday lives. This program is being done under the mental health study that the British government is running up until 2021.
Apart from the increasing number of young children that are showing signs of early onset depression and anxiety, NHS reports have also shown that 1 in 8 British children have mental disorders. Despite these facts, only 1 out of 5 children with mental issues are able to get access to treatment.
England isn’t the only country that has added mindfulness as a subject among schools. In 2016, a school in Baltimore decided to replace detention for an area where the children could go to an practice some breathing and stretching exercises instead. This is a way to keep the students calmer in order to increase their focus within the classroom.
A student that was sent to the ‘mindful moment room’ for pushing and name-calling a fellow classmate describes it to CNN as: “I did some deep breathing, had a little snack, and I got myself together. Then I apologized to my class.”
The school believes this is an improved manner the problem, rather than punishing and embarrassing the child in front of their peers, which was probably the cause of the problem from the very beginning.
Teaching children how to deal with emotions will most likely be very foreign and uncomfortable, but it will reap the benefits in the end. The goal is to have the children master the habit of clearing their mind from stress and anxiety, and being present and more focused in class.
Do you think all schools should teach mindfulness and meditation?