A Brief Mindfulness Practice Increases Self-Reported Calmness in Young Children: a Pilot Study

Abstract

Mindfulness practices are increasingly used with school-aged children, although relatively little is known about their effects, particularly when briefer practices are used, and when children are young. Further, although mindfulness is thought to positively influence self-regulation, few studies have explicitly tested its influence on this domain in young children. In two independent samples, children 7–9 years of age were randomly assigned to a single 10-min mindfulness practice or a quiet play comparison condition and completed age-appropriate self-report measures of pre- and post-calmness, mood, and social dominance. Fifteen children were in sample 1, and 30 children were in sample 2. In both samples, only children who practiced mindfulness showed a significant increase in calmness (p < .05) based on pre- and post-self-report. Significant effects on self-reported mood or dominance were not found. These results indicate that even a brief, classroom-friendly mindfulness practice increases self-reported calmness in school-aged children.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the YMCA of Western Ontario and the Thames Valley District School Board for their assistance with data collection, and the children (and their caregivers) who agreed to participate in this study.

Ruby Nadler and Elizabeth P. Hayden contributed equally to this work.

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Correspondence to Ruby Nadler.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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This research was funded by the Child Health Research Institute’s Quality of Life grant.

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Nadler, R., Cordy, M., Stengel, J. et al. A Brief Mindfulness Practice Increases Self-Reported Calmness in Young Children: a Pilot Study. Mindfulness 8, 1088–1095 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0685-2

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Keywords

  • Mindfulness
  • Children
  • Self-regulation
  • Affect