Mindfulness meditation enhances the cognitive and the emotional responsiveness. As well as mental flexibility.1 This helps to make conscious behavioral decisions instead of flying through everyday life on autopilot.
By meditating regularly, our whirl of thoughts can be stopped more easily. This allows us to turn off our worries for a moment. Mindfulness also helps us to develop compassion. For others, but also for ourselves. All these characteristics have a positive effect on children in various areas of life.
A mindful glance at the day works wonders. With meditation, our perception becomes less distorted – instead, it’s sharpened to see the little things. This perspective has been proven to help children feel more content and all-around better.2, 3
During their development, children go through small and large crises from time to time. Building mental resilience helps them to overcome such crises in a healthy way. Meditation and mindfulness promote this inner strength in children.4, 5
Meditating regularly strengthens concentration and attention. For children, mindfulness training helps them become less distracted and stay focused while learning – whether at home or at school.6, 7
Whether before the big match on Saturday or the next math exam: The fear of big events usually intensifies as if by itself. Mindfulness helps children to perceive and understand such feelings without becoming overwhelmed by them.2, 8
When thoughts constantly revolve around the same thing, they become more and more negative over time. Meditations help children to stop such gyrations of thoughts and to take on new, optimistic perspectives.6, 8, 9
Due to too many stimuli, adults as well as children often do not find the calmness to switch off and fall asleep in the evening. Mindfulness exercises have been proven to help us fall asleep faster and sleep more restfully through the night.10, 11
Children who react quickly to stimuli in their environment tend to erupt into anger or aggression more often. With mindfulness exercises, children learn to curb these quick, thoughtless reactions and to make conscious decisions about how to act.6, 7
Studies of classes and schools that have integrated meditation into the classroom report numerous positive effects. These include improved school performances as well as reduced emotional problems and stress among children.4
Building on scientific evidence, we develop Aumio together with families according to the ethical principles of the Designing for Children’s Rights Guide.
Through co-creative workshops with families, we are inspired and advised by children and parents. All important decisions are made together with the “Young Consultants”, our young Aumio consultants aged 8-14.
Aumio started as a scientific project. As part of a research project at the Freie University of Berlin, Aumio was initially developed as a prototype by our co-founder Jean. So Aumio started very small with a small selection of mindfulness exercises around the topic of ADHD.
Two studies12, 13 with a total of 41 families have already shown that Aumio’s exercises are effectively helping the children.By using the app, families were also encouraged to practice meditation and mindfulness with their children quite easily at home.
The courses were able to alleviate symptoms such as tantrums (impulsivity) and fidgetiness (hyperactivity) in the study. Furthermore, parents reported that their children experienced significantly fewer problems and disputes at school. The studies also indicated improvements in the children’s health-related quality of life and cognitive performance.
And most importantly: Children and parents were enthusiastic about the idea.This has motivated us to continue developing Aumio. In further scientific studies, we will continuously put Aumio to the test to support children even better in dealing with their everyday challenges.
Are you conducting research in the field of health, school, education, child and adolescent psychology or psychotherapy? And would you like to use digital possibilities to communicate mindfulness or psychological knowledge to children? We would be happy to support you!
1 Gu, J., Strauss, C., Bond, R., & Cavanagh, K. (2015). How do mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction improve mental health and wellbeing? A systematic review and meta-analysis of mediation studies. Clinical psychology review, 37, 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2015.01.006
2 Khoury, B., Sharma, M., Rush, S. E., & Fournier, C. (2015). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for healthy individuals: A meta-analysis. Journal of psychosomatic research, 78(6), 519–528. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2015.03.009
3 Dawson, A. F., Brown, W. W., Anderson, J., Datta, B., Donald, J. N., Hong, K., Allan, S., Mole, T. B., Jones, P. B., & Galante, J. (2019). Mindfulness-Based Interventions for University Students: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials. Applied psychology. Health and well-being, 10.1111/aphw.12188. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/aphw.12188
4 Zenner, C., Herrnleben-Kurz, S., & Walach, H. (2014). Mindfulness-based interventions in schools-a systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in psychology, 5, 603. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00603
5 Joyce, S., Shand, F., Tighe, J., Laurent, S. J., Bryant, R. A., & Harvey, S. B. (2018). Road to resilience: a systematic review and meta-analysis of resilience training programmes and interventions. BMJ open, 8(6), e017858. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017858
6 Klingbeil, D. A., Renshaw, T. L., Willenbrink, J. B., Copek, R. A., Chan, K. T., Haddock, A., … Clifton, J. (2017). Mindfulness-based interventions with youth: A comprehensive meta-analysis of group-design studies. Journal of School Psychology, 63, 77–103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2017.03.006
7 Xue, J., Zhang, Y., Huang, Y., & Tusconi, M. (2019). A meta-analytic investigation of the impact of mindfulness-based interventions on ADHD symptoms. Medicine (United States), 98(23). https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000015957
8 Dunning, D. L., Griffiths, K., Kuyken, W., Crane, C., Foulkes, L., Parker, J., & Dalgleish, T. (2018). Research Review: The effects of mindfulness‐based interventions on cognition and mental health in children and adolescents – a meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 60(3), jcpp.12980. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12980
9 Chi, X., Bo, A., Liu, T., Zhang, P., & Chi, I. (2018, June 21). Effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on depression in adolescents and young adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Frontiers in Psychology. Frontiers Media S.A. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01034
10 Gong, H., Ni, C. X., Liu, Y. Z., Zhang, Y., Su, W. J., Lian, Y. J., Peng, W., & Jiang, C. L. (2016). Mindfulness meditation for insomnia: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of psychosomatic research, 89, 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2016.07.016
11 Rusch, H. L., Rosario, M., Levison, L. M., Olivera, A., Livingston, W. S., Wu, T., & Gill, J. M. (2019). The effect of mindfulness meditation on sleep quality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1445(1), 5–16. https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.13996
12 Ochel, J. (2018). Design, development and feasibility of Aumio – a mindfulness-based online training for children with ADHD symptoms (Unpublished master’s thesis). Freie Universität, Berlin.
13 Keck, J. (2019). „Aumio“ – Pilotstudie einer achtsamkeitsbasierten Online-Intervention für Kinder mit ADHS (Unpublished master’s thesis). Freie Universität, Berlin.