A Mindful Approach to Childhood Anxiety




Gardner, Marie-Claire

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This project examines the effects of reduced access to unstructured and unsupervised play on children’s mental health. Childhood used to be considered a time in which children learned through exploration and play; however, today many Canadian children live a very different reality. With heightened parental and academic expectations along with fewer opportunities for free play, children are experiencing anxiety and other forms of mental illness in unprecedented numbers. Children are not being afforded the time to learn the skills needed to take control in their own lives and the effects are showing in the rise of mental illness in childhood. This project looks at the current research behind this trend. The practical portion of the paper focuses on the role of schools in the fight against the childhood anxiety epidemic and discusses the use of mindfulness meditation with a class of 22 kindergarten students in an effort to alleviate some of the anxious behaviours displayed at school.