4-H members teach mindfulness to improve youth wellness
Anxiety and depression in youths are growing concerns. Many trends among today’s young people – like spending lots of time looking at screens, participating in hyper-competitive activities and not getting enough sleep – are believed to be contributing to these issues.
Three teenagers in the University of California 4-H Youth Development Program decided they wanted to do something about these problems. They attended training in mindful practices that can helps kids manage stress effectively and be more optimistic and grateful toward others. They then taught these practices to nearly 40 young children in an after-school program.
Among the skills they taught the children were mindful eating, active play and breathing exercises, attentive listening skills, practicing gratitude, learning to live in the moment and emotion regulation. In a survey, 77% of the young participants said they felt the information they learned had helped them better manage negative emotions and would encourage a friend to participate in the class.
“What I liked best about doing this project was seeing the kids coming in every week excited and anticipating what the lesson would be for the day,” said one of the teen teachers, Carson Bain.