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back-to-school-mindfulness

While parents are often depicted in TV commercials as being totally excited for school to start up again at the end of summer, back-to-school season can be stressful for families of kids with learning disabilities. Changing routines and transitioning into a new season is often difficult, and it’s even more challenging if your child doesn’t like school.

The good news? There may be an app for that. Specifically, a meditation app.

How Meditation Benefits Kids

Meditation can help build concentration and reduce anxiety — both important skills for kids who struggle in school. Meditation has been found to help children with ADHD improve their concentration at school, which in turn has led to feeling less anxious at home and getting better sleep at night. Mindfulness practices have also been shown to help improve executive functioning skills, allowing impulsive kids to slow down before reacting. Meditation appears to help rewire young brains to reduce anxiety at a neurological level, which could lead to a lifetime of feel-good benefits.

Trying Meditation at Home

You don’t have to be a Zen master to help your child learn to meditate. In fact, it’s a practice best done at one’s own pace, so consider having your child use a meditation app instead. There are several that are appealing to kids and use age-appropriate language and engaging animation to explain new ways of thinking and relaxing.
For younger kids, try the Smiling Mind app or Stop, Breathe & Think Kids. For tweens, the standard Stop, Breathe & Think app is a better choice. If you’re interested in learning meditation along with your child, Headspace and Calm have guided meditations for all age groups.

Tips to Get Started

Not quite sure how to present meditation to your child? Try these tips for starting this healthy new habit:
  • Show your child the app to drum up enthusiasm. You can also discuss how meditation can help your child feel less stressed to help get them on board with trying something new.
  • Start several weeks before school begins to make meditation a regular practice.
  • Choose a time of day to meditate and stick to it — perhaps before breakfast or as part of the bedtime routine.
  • Try meditation yourself and talk about it with your child. Modeling desired behavior is always a good tactic.
  • Support your child’s practice by providing a quiet, comfortable spot to meditate without interruptions.
  • Be sure to point out the "streak" tracker on the app. Most kids find maintaining a streak of mediation very motivating!
By giving your child some tools to learn to meditate, heading back to school might be a little easier this year.

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