Tag Archives: attention

8 Suggestions for Teaching Mindfulness to Children

By Aimee Laurence

Mindfulness is good for all of us. It helps us be present as parents, choosing better responses instead of going with the first thing that comes to mind. It’s also good for children because it helps them pay attention, stay calm when they feel upset, and improves their decision making. In order to teach these skills to your children, you need to first establish your own practice so you can teach what you know. You also want to keep it simple so your children can understand that at its core, it means being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and what’s happening around you.

The purpose of teaching mindfulness to your children is to allow them to gain better awareness of their experiences, both inner and outer, to understand their thoughts and emotions, and to be better at controlling impulses. With that being said, you need to manage your own expectations, because it’s impossible that you’ll eliminate tantrums, or completely calm down your child – they are kids and it’s normal for them to be loud and exuberant. With this in mind, here are 8 different ways you can start introducing mindfulness to your children at home.

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Music and ADHD: A Quick Guide for Parents

Music and ADHD

We all love music. Now we know it can help attention span for kids with ADHD.

Bono once famously said, “Music can change the world because it can change people.” This sentiment is true on a number of levels, including helping people with attention deficit disorders control the symptoms of their condition.

According to Psychology Today, music may be used to help people manage ADHD. In a recent article posted online, Larry Maucieri Ph.D, ABPP-CN reports that people trained in music have an overwhelming tendency to perform better in many areas, including attention span and memory. It is theorized that part of the reason music affects ADHD in a positive way is because it increases dopamine levels, which, when deficient, may cause or contribute to ADHD.

Different strokes

It is easy to believe that only slow, classical melodies can increase attention span. That isn’t the case, however, as different brains interpret music in different ways. For some, heavy metal may help them find a center of balance. Others may prefer hip-hop, while others still prefer the soulful twang of country music. But one thing is universally true, and that is that learning to play music offers benefits that can’t be measured in tempo.

How does it work?

Regardless of the kind of music your child enjoys, a part of his or her brain is triggered that may help regulate the symptoms of ADHD. Music not only provides structure; it essentially gives the ADHD brain a roadmap for other activities. Melodies additionally fire up neurotransmitters in the brain, which can improve overall function over time. Also worth mentioning is that music, and specifically playing an instrument, can be used as a social activity and to teach children with attention disorders the ability to follow along and wait, when necessary. Some studies suggest that learning to do things through rhythmic exercises can even improve the academic performance of children with ADHD.

Getting started

Your child does not have to have any prior experience or creative talent in order to reap the benefits of music. The first step is to determine what type of instrument is most comfortable for the child to hold and use. Children who are able to sit still and are good with their hands may excel with the guitar or piano. The clarinet, saxophone, and other wind instruments are an option for children who have problems sitting still, as these instruments can be played while walking. It really doesn’t matter your child’s age when he or she picks up their first instrument. But since most parents recognize attention disorders in elementary school, the sooner the better.

Selecting an instrument

  • Trumpet, clarinet, or saxophone: These brass instruments are available in a range of styles from beginner to expert. A student model, which is typically more affordable and made with the learner in mind, is more than sufficient for a first-time player. When determining which instrument is right for your child, your biggest decision here will be to buy new or used. You also need to take into consideration your child’s ability—and willingness—to perform common maintenance tasks, including keeping the mouthpiece clean. There are many onlines resources to consult when buying your instrument. For example, check out this saxophone buying guide.

 

  • From dreadnought to dobro, there are dozens of styles of guitars. For a young student, however, a 30-to-36-inch-sized acoustic or mini electric is more than enough to learn. FirstGuitar.com’s guitar size chart can help you decide.
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