The importance of mindfulness for kids who learn and think differently

By Kate Kelly

When kids practice mindfulness, they focus on the present. It can help kids notice negative thoughts and shift their attention to what they’re doing or feeling right now. Practicing mindfulness can ease stress and anxiety. It has other benefits too.

Mindfulness means living in the moment without judgment. But many of us, kids and adults alike, don’t naturally function that way.

When a thought pops into our head, we often think about what happened in the past or what might happen in the future. Even if the thought isn’t accurate, we may react to it as if it were.

Imagine a child is studying for a test and starts to feel anxious about it. They try to focus on their notes, but their thoughts keep drifting: I flunked the last test ... I should have asked for extra help ... I’m going to fail.

Practicing mindfulness can help kids notice their emotions and shift to more neutral thinking, like how their breath feels as they inhale and exhale. Being mindful can help kids manage their emotions and tackle challenges.

Keep reading to learn how mindfulness can help build key skills, like focus and self-control.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Kate Kelly has been writing and editing for more than 20 years, with a focus on parenting.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Sheldon H. Horowitz, EdD is senior director of learning resources and research at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.