We all know how young children can be active and how some have short attention spans.
So to get them to sit still and practice breathing techniques for just 5 minutes might be hard to imagine.
But the Straits Times recently reported that some schools in Singapore have done it.
More than 10 schools have introduced mindful breathing to help the students be more focused, calm and alert. But as you would expect, some children were fidgety.
The school says all these is “part of a broader “positive education” framework”.
According to the Straits Times Article, studies show that mindfulness can have positive effects on the mental,emotional, social and physical health of young people.
Attention, memory and empathy increases in those who practice mindful breathing exercises.
The positive effects of such mindful breathing exercises are without a doubt beneficial. But this begs a question: are these young children between the tender age of 7 to 12 really able to sit still and focus on their breathing for 2 minutes?
Mindful breathing has become popularised in the United Kingdom to help children in schools be more aware of their thoughts and feelings. Even the US military offers their Marines mindful breathing before they are deployed.
For our children in primary schools, this also helps to de-clutter the mind and make room for creativity; something which the education system has been pushing for in the last few years.
In addition, mindful breathing also calms the students and reduces stress in their daily lives. We know how school life can be stressful in Singapore, so practicing mindfulness breathing helps give the kids a breather.
All that said, it is important not just for the students to know how to make use of the breathing techniques to help them, but important also for parents and family members to be taught the techniques as well.
Often adult family members come back from a stressful day at work and might have lesser tolerance and patience for their children, hence, if these family members are taught the techniques, the whole family can benefit from a less-stressful environment.
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