Mindfulness, defined simply, is the act of being aware of your thoughts, feelings and sensations in the present moment. Mindfulness is a trendy topic in education because it’s been shown to have numerous social-emotional and cognitive benefits for kids. And in addition to the growing body of academic research, many educators and parents find mindfulness to anecdotally be a powerful tool for helping young people calm down, regulate emotions and focus on learning. Not to mention the benefits for adults themselves who practice mindfulness: more patience, a greater sense of well-being, and fewer sleepless nights. Who wouldn’t want a bit more of that this back-to-school season?
Traditionally, mindfulness has been taught, learned and practiced through independent self-study or through working with an expert. But these days, new technology solutions are springing up to help parents, teachers and other caring adults more easily share mindfulness with children. And while there has been some pushback from the community regarding the efficacy of digital mindfulness tools, there’s no arguing with the fact that by leveraging technology, a wider and more diverse generation of folks are gaining access to the benefits of mindfulness.
Wondering what all the hype is about? Here are three technology solutions that will give you a taste of what mindfulness can do for you and the young people in your life:
If you want to find out if mindfulness is for you:
Headspace is perhaps the best-known and most popular self-paced mindfulness course. Available on any device, Headspace offers an engaging and free introduction to meditation called Take 10. In just ten minutes a day for ten days, you can learn the basics, relieve stress and determine if you’d like to learn more. And they’ve recently launched Headspace for Kids, a premium service available to subscribers who’ve completed the full Take 10 sequence.
If you want to practice mindfulness with kids:
Mind Yeti is a new, research-based tool for sharing mindfulness with kids*. Through listening to age-appropriate guided audio content, kids and their adults build a simple and sustainable mindfulness practice. Choose from twelve free sessions aimed at K-5 kids, and play them at home, in the classroom, or anywhere you need to help kids calm down, focus and connect.
If you’re looking to go deep and build a lasting practice:
Mindful Schools offers an online professional development course for educators. Where many consumer-facing mindfulness tech solutions seek to provide a broad introduction to mindfulness, Mindful Schools goes deep. Their Mindfulness Fundamentals course helps educators build their own practice, while their Mindful Educator Essentials course teaches how to bring mindfulness to kids. The courses aren’t cheap (scholarships are available), and they are work intensive. But participants agree it’s the best way to build a long-term, deeply impactful practice.
Have you tried mindfulness on your own or with kids? Share your favorite resources and tools in the comments.
* Full disclosure: I’m currently working with the Mind Yeti team to launch a community engagement strategy.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Theis Kofoed Hjorth.