How Meditation Can Help Kids Cope With Stress in School 

One of Singapore’s IB schools – the Global Indian International School – measures satisfaction in school using a measure they call the Happiness Index. It is the belief of the school that a happy class is a productive class, which ultimately leads to a productive school. A combination of the right curriculum, a good physical layout, a friendly atmosphere, and an understanding faculty result in engaged students. 

Indeed, if all schools work to cultivate an environment which encourages learning rather than hinder, all students will love lifelong learning.  


School efforts at improving student well-being 

Thankfully, there are schools that have started focusing on student well-being. For instance, Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore has replaced detention with a more effective technique of disciplining students. They have resorted to meditation, teaching kids breathing exercises and focusing on the present moment. 

While meditation has not yet been assimilated into school routine, there are burgeoning research and promising anecdotal evidence which shows the benefits of doing so. 


Better grades 

school district in San Francisco started adding an extra half hour in the day in some of the high risk schools for meditation purposes. This ‘experiment’ resulted to better grades, fewer suspensions, and improved attendance. The kids are less aggressive and more satisfied with their environment and progress in school.  

There is a study on the relationship of mindfulness, anxiety, and high-stakes school performance which supports the results of the school. It found that mindfulness helped students in their high-stakes mathematics exam because it reduced anxiety and improved memory.  


Boost attention 

There have been studies on adults with and without ADD/ADHD that show meditation has helped improve focus. But there are budding studies which show that it can help kids, too. In a study done in 2004 found that kids who were taught meditation with their parents twice in a week in a controlled setting and practices it at home showed better concentration in school. 

Additionally, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for children (MBCT-C) was shown to help with behavior problems and improve attention in kids who have high anxiety levels. In 2013, boys with ADHD underwent an eight-week mindfulness training which significantly reduced hyperactive behaviors and boost attention. 


Dealing with stressors 

Most kids are going through lots of stressors both in school and at home. According to a Forbes article, kids who are going through tough situations outside of school are constantly on edge that it will most likely be hard for them to sit in class to learn. 

2012 study showed that meditation can help kids deal with stressors, and many believe it to be a necessary to do so. However, many educators feel that there should be a physical component involved in dealing with kids with trauma as asking them to sit still and meditate may not be effective and can potentially backfire. 

When it comes to the well-being of kids, especially students who are already experiencing chronic stress, it is important that not only the guardians are taking steps to alleviate their situation. Schools must initiate programs and start projects which can help kids feel better both in their school and home environments.

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