Introducing Mindfulness to Kids & Teens

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

People of all ages can benefit from mindfulness—and it can be taught to children as early as two or three years old. Mindfulness, simply, is the practice of bringing gentleness and acceptance into whatever is happening in the moment.

Kids these days live stressful, fast-paced lives—whether they’re navigating school, extracurriculars, or being social. For children and adolescents, the mental flexibility learned from mindfulness can help them have better focus, manage symptoms of stress, have better emotional regulation, and be more positive.

Audience Questions

Gillian C. Galen, PsyD, shares ways to introduce mindfulness to children and adolescents, provides tips and tricks to make mindfulness practices more second nature to the whole family, and answers questions about how mindfulness can make a positive impact both on our kids and ourselves.

  • What is mindfulness? Is there a difference between mindfulness for adults and mindfulness for kids?
  • How is mindfulness different from meditation?
  • What are some of the benefits of kids practicing mindfulness?
  • What are the impacts of chronic stress, anxiety, etc. on kids and teens?
  • Would you suggest mindfulness apps for kids and teens? Is it defeating the purpose if it’s keeping them on a screen?
  • How early can I start teaching my children mindfulness practices? Should these practices evolve as they age?
  • Is there mindfulness we can incorporate into other exercises if yoga and other “slow movement” doesn’t do it for us?
  • For teens who are getting started on mindfulness, what exercises do you like to help them start getting away from rumination?
  • How can my child incorporate mindfulness into the time they spend at school?
  • Any tips on how to suggest/introduce mindfulness to teens so they don’t instantly reject it because it’s coming from an adult?
  • What are some ways we can explain the benefits of “slowing down” and “being mindful” to a teenager who’s just as busy—if not busier—than we are?
  • Do you have suggestions for reframing mindfulness for teens to help make it something they are willing to try?
  • Can we practice mindfulness while being “productive,” e.g., studying or writing, to prevent our minds from wandering? How do we do this?
  • Can you talk about your experiences and thoughts on introducing mindfulness to young adults, especially college age?
  • Is mindfulness a lot about delaying gratification?
  • Is the goal to eventually have a formal meditative practice, or is living mindfully enough?
  • Do you have some suggestions for mindfulness practices as part of a sleep routine?
  • What are some good mindfulness activities or books for a 10-year-old?
  • Is there a good resource that shows alternate things to focus on?
  • Is there a good resource for mindful family activities at the dinner table?
  • What are some of your favorite mindfulness practices and/or resources?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


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About Dr. Galen

Gillian C. Galen, PsyD, is a senior child and adolescent psychologist specializing in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). She has extensive experience diagnosing and treating adolescents and young adults who struggle with emotion dysregulation, anxiety, depression, trauma, and self-endangering behaviors, such as self-injury and suicidal behaviors.

Dr. Galen has a particular interest in the use of mindfulness and yoga in the treatment of borderline personality disorder and psychiatric illnesses. She is the co-author of the books “Mindfulness for Borderline Personality Disorder: Relieve Your Suffering Using the Core Skill of Dialectical Behavior Therapy” and “Coping With BPD: DBT and CBT Skills to Soothe the Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.”

Learn more about Dr. Galen.

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Originally aired on February 1, 2022