In Sept 2019, UNICEF released a report on the well-being of children in richer countries, ranking Canadian children in 25th place out of 41 wealthy nations. Canada came in behind countries with much smaller economies like Poland, Estonia, and the Czech Republic. The report stated that only 55% of Canadian children were happy with their lives! Here are some other surprising and disturbing statistics coming out of the report:
- less than one-half liked school;
- one in three children indicated they feel symptoms of mental distress regularly;
- one in four children stated they were bullied regularly
- one in four children identified as lonely,
- only half reported feeling a sense of belonging at home.
Here, the stressors aren’t war, famine, and severe poverty, so we must turn to the key issue of mental health and well-being. It is vital for parents to check-in with our children, so we can teach them to identify the what and why of well-being. If they don’t feel good, why? What is really going on?
This is where mindfulness training, where we develop the capacity to sit with our thoughts and emotions, to identify them, and to watch them without letting them consume us, is so helpful. It is a key long-term strategy for assisting children in getting to know themselves, apart from the needs and offerings of parents, teachers, friends, and media. Mindfulness is not just a trend; it is a cornerstone of emotional / social development, literacy and well-being.
Thanks, Rosanna D’Agnillo