Washington: The words "zen" and "child" may not exactly go together, but that hasn`t stopped a growing number of parents from home schooling their kids in the art of yoga, meditation and relaxation.
A University of California, Los Angeles study found second- and third-graders who practiced "mindful" meditation techniques for 30 minutes twice a week for eight weeks had improved behavior and scored higher on tests requiring memory, attention and focus than the nonmeditators.
Another study of more than 3,000 children in the San Francisco Unified School District found a dramatic improvement in math test scores and overall academic performance among students who practiced transcendental meditation, a form of mediation that promotes relaxation and "an awakening" of the mind.
The study also found a decrease in student suspensions, expulsions and dropout rates, ABC News reported.
And other recent studies have demonstrated the ability of "mindfulness" techniques, especially those used in meditation, yoga and tai chi, to reduce impulsiveness, control emotions and ease stress.
Children today are certainly more stressed out than their parents likely realize.
One in five children said they worried a lot or a great deal about things going on in their lives, and more than 30 percent admitted to such stress-related symptoms as difficulty sleeping, according to the American Psychological Association`s annual Stress in America report.
Yet, the same report found that only 8 percent of parents were aware that their children experienced any stress at all.
Despite some high-profile Hollywood interest, kids meditation is mainly a grassroots movement that is slowly gaining a toehold in schools, small studios and homes across the US.