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Grandma’s Brain Benefits From Spending Time With Kids, Study Finds

Grandma’s Brain Benefits From Spending Time With Kids, Study Finds

Planning on hiring a babysitter to look after your children while you are away with work? On top of the financial costs, how can you be sure they are getting the love they deserve? Thankfully, all your worries can be calmed by simply looking to the wonderful women who raised you. Having grandma look after your kids is the most natural and rewarding experience for all.

You may imagine that this will place undue stress or uncomfortable situations on poor old granny. However, most grandmas would be delighted to spend more time with their grandchildren. Grandchildren can help to keep old people happy, joyful and energetic. Bonding with the newest and the youngest generation of the family brings a great sense of pride and happiness.

Grandchildren Bring Mental Health Benefits

It’s also believed that playing or whiling away time with children can increase grandma’s golden years. Dropping the kids at Grandma’s place can play an essential positive role in dealing with age related brain illnesses. So long as she’s happy to spare the time, you may actually be helping her fight against a number of mental health problems!

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An interesting study published in ‘Menopause’, a journal of North American Menopause Society, revealed that grandmothers who spend time taking care of their grandchildren exhibit lower risks of Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive turmoil. An Alzheimer’s test  conducted on women between the ages of 57-68 further supports these notions. Those who scored the highest scores were the ones watching and playing with their grandchildren, at least once in a week.

It’s also been seen that frequent or regular social interaction can help older people to stay mentally fit and calm. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found  senior people who spend too much living alone without family interactions suffer from a 26% higher death risk during a period of seven years.

Closing the Generation Gap While Squashing Depression

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    Today, in many societies across the globe, senior people tend to live alone or with their better halves rather than staying together in one big family home. While they do not depend on their kids economically or socially, it has created a huge gap between generations – grandparents, parents, and offspring.

    Depression is less likely to happen if grandparents create a strong bond with an adult grandkid. Researchers belonging to the Institute on Ageing at Boston College analyzed data from 700 grandparents and grandkids over a period of 19 years. They found that deeper the relationship between the two, the less the depression.

    Factors that help create a stronger bond

    • When a child becomes more emotionally attached with the grandparents
    • When a child has a regular contact with his or her grandparent
    • When a child considers their grandparent to be a strong pillar of support

    Along with grandchildren, grandparents need support too. If grandparents receive tangible support, they are even more likely to escape from depression. Lead researcher Sara Moorman believes the greater emotional attachment and support exchanged between grandparents and grandchildren, the better their mental and physiological health.

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    Caring for grandchildren helps seniors avoid isolation, and thus, indirectly mitigates depression and early death. A strong, healthy bond between the grandparents and grandchildren has anti-depression benefits for both parties.

    Remember – She’s a Grandma, not a Nanny!

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      More time is also not always better, In fact, too much time can be a bad thing. Grandmothers spending five days a week or more time in babysitting actually scored lower on the Alzheimer’s test. Mood was considered to be a factor in this instance. Kids can drive their grandma’s crazy if they are particularly unruly and left together for extended periods of time. Grandmothers certainly don’t want to be treated as if they are just a ‘nanny’.

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      The time your children spend with grandma should be a great experience for both, not a chore! Here are some ideas for fun activities grandparents and grandchildren can enjoy together.

      1. Going for a walk in a park or nature
      2. Starting a book reading club together
      3. Creating a family tree
      4. Having a tea party
      5. Visiting a local zoological park
      6. Practicing or passing down a hobby
      7. Going on a day trip to a new place or city

      Whichever activity you choose, make it a special grandma and grandchild experience. Do not be tempted to bring a third person into the experience. If the distance between child and grandparent is an issue, utilize phone calls, social media, skype or anything you can to maintain a strong connection between them.

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      Published on August 8, 2018

      How Guided Meditation for Kids Can Boost Learning and Social Skills

      How Guided Meditation for Kids Can Boost Learning and Social Skills

      Do you want the best for your kid? Of course you do!

      Boosting your kid’s learning ability and social skills in less than 20 minutes a day? That’s where guided meditation for kids comes in.

      You have probably heard a lot about meditation the last couple years. As there’s more and more research in the area of meditation, a lot of people finally start to see the benefits.

      A subject that’s not talked about too much is that meditation can also help kids grow incredible learning and social skills.

      Meditation for kids is becoming more popular every day as parents want their kids to see the benefits too.

      What is guided meditation for kids?

      First things first, what exactly is the guided meditation for kids that is talked about in this article?

      We can define meditation with the help of Headspace:[1]

      Meditation is about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.

      And according to GuidedMind, guided meditation is:[2]

      Guided meditation is when you are guided, by a narrator, to elicit a specific change in your life. You are first guided to relax your body and mind, to help you reach a deep meditative state before going on a journey, in your mind, to reach a specific goal.

      If you want to get into guided meditation, read this:

      The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)

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      As you may know, there are a lot of variations on meditation. This includes:

      • Mindfulness, focusing on the breath while accepting everything that’s happening (thoughts, sounds, etc.).
      • (Guided) Visualization, visualizing a particular event, environment, feeling, etc.
      • Heart Rhythm Meditation (HRM), focusing on the breath and the heart while feeling at one with everything. A focus on downward energy flow within the body.
      • Transcendental Meditation (TM), this technique is literally about transcending the negative through internal mantras.
      • Qi Gong, this is a form of meditation that is done through specific movement patterns while focusing on the breath.
      • Kundalini focuses on the upward flow of energy within the body. Focusing on that energy with your breath gives you a higher sense of consciousness.
      • Zazen, sitting with a back straight while focusing on deep breaths.

      You can find out more about different forms in this article:

      17 Types of Meditation (Techniques and Basics) to Practice Mindfulness

      All these forms of meditation can be done individually or guided. Guided meditation for kids is the best choice because it will make it easier for them to follow and understand.

      The benefits of meditation for kids

      There are a lot of benefits meditation has to offer, but the most important benefit is that it relieves stress. In this time and age, this becomes more important than ever.

      (Post-)millennials are dealing with a lot of stress due to the amount of work pressure, opportunities (decision making) and student loan debt (which results in wanting early financial success).[3]

      Making sure children are stress resistant is of high importance for the future of their lives.

      Of course, there are way more benefits to meditation. So, to convince you further; here follow more benefits to meditation.

      There are precisely 76 benefits to meditation which are scientifically proved.[4] But the main benefits of meditation are:

      • Improved concentration[5]
      • Increased happiness[6]
      • Slows down the aging process[7]
      • Increased immunity[8] and cardiovascular health[9]
      • Improved mood and brain power

      Here I’m going to look into some of meditation’s benefits that parents care about most:

      Boost learning ability

      The question is: ‘How does meditation for kids improve learning ability?’

      There are, of course, multiple answers but there’s one simple answer; concentration. As you read earlier on in this article, meditation improves the ability to concentrate.

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      If the ability to concentrate increases, it will lead to an increased attention span which is one of the factors that affect learning.

      By implementing guided meditation into your kids’ life; he/she will become a better learner.

      Another reason to increase the attention span of your child beside learning is that our average attention span per person is decreasing exponentially because of all the distractions that we have around us.

      The more we let distractions in, the less easy it becomes to really focus on something. This is because it takes us 23 minutes to get into something after being distracted.[10]

      Improve social skills

      The way meditation for kids improves the social skills of the meditator is through the sense of presence it creates.[11] Being present in a conversation is more important than you may think.

      Do you know those people who are just way up in their head which makes it hard to have an in-depth conversation with?

      They probably don’t meditate.

      By being present in a conversation, you can better understand the person you’re talking to. Not being carried away by your thoughts makes it easier to process the information the other is providing. Including non-verbal signs, you may never have noticed if you weren’t present.

      Meditation for kids also improves charisma because of the loving nature that grows from meditating. Especially the kindness and gratitude focused forms of meditation for kids. By being more kind and grateful; your kid will increase in charisma and feeling of interconnectedness which will improve social skills.

      Last but not least, implementing guided meditation for kids in the form of guided meditation by you (the parent) will likely improve the relationship between you and your child.

      This creates the opportunity to educate your child on specific social skills you’ve picked up and the other way around. Also, a child is very dependent on its environment.

      By increasing social skills yourself, you will improve the social skills of your child.

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      How to get started with guided meditation for kids

      Below follows a step-by-step process on how to implement guided meditation for kids into your kids’ life.

      Step 1: Do it yourself first

      Have you ever tried learning Spanish from someone who doesn’t speak Spanish? No, because it doesn’t make sense!

      This is the same for meditation for kids. If you want to teach your kid how to meditate, you will first have to do it yourself.

      Pick a form of meditation for kids you think would work best and get the hang of it. Follow guided meditation via YouTube or any platform you like.

      Suggestions: Visualization meditation, body scan meditation or simple mindfulness.

      There’s an easy guide on meditation you can do anywhere at any time:

      The 5-Minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

      Step 2: Expose your kid to the practice

      By exposing your kid to the practice without him/her knowing, its intention will raise their curiosity. This makes it easier to convince them afterward.

      Meditate in the presence of them; put your earplugs in and start meditating while they are around. When they talk to you or touch you while you’re meditating, keep meditating until they walk away.

      When you’re done, you can explain what you were doing and why you were doing and ask to do it together. Explain it in a way, so they understand it.

      Here’s an article that will help you explain mindfulness to your kid:

      Mindfulness: What it is and How to Explain it to Kids and Adults

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      Tip: Make it sound like it’s very special (which it is) so that they’ll grow their curiosity and excitement even more.

      Step 3: Do it together

      Now that you have the interest of your child and know the essence of meditation you can finally do it together. Guide them through the meditation or put on the meditation you followed before.

      Make it a fun and enjoyable experience for your child at first while keeping the essence of meditation in mind.

      As you and your child progress you may want to make it more serious.

      Step 4: Let your child express himself/Herself entirely

      You will get a lot of insights about your feelings and thoughts through meditation. Your child will also experience these things and may want to express it.

      Ask your child after the meditation what he/she experienced or felt. Let them get rid of everything that’s bothering them.

      Step 5: Be consistent

      As you do it more frequently; you will build a habit for you and your kid that will benefit you both. Reward them after each meditation.

      Make it a fun experience instead of something they must do. Don’t push it.

      Step 6: Be calm and let it be

      Again, don’t push it and don’t expect anything. You want to get your child into meditation for kids so he/she can benefit from it in the long run. But you can’t decide for your kid if he/she wants it or not.

      You will have to educate yourself first before you can train your child. Read books or articles about meditation for kids and try your best.

      Conclusion

      Here’s a summary of the key points you have learned by reading this article:

      • You now know what (guided) meditation for kids is.
      • You know why it’s so important to include (guided) meditation into your and your kids’ life.
      • You know how (guided) meditation for kids helps improve the learning ability of your kid.
      • You know how (guided) meditation for kids helps improve the social skills of your kid.
      • You have the steps you can follow to implement meditation for kids into your kids’ life.

      Good luck and start meditating with your kids!

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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