Mindfulness can be taught from any age, why not start them young?
What is mindfulness?
‘Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity and without judgement’. Usually mediation and yoga is the most common practice of mindfulness, also referred to as the exercise of the mind. Mindfulness is your own safe place where life isn’t chaotic – away from the bully at school, away from any mean comments from your sisters/brothers and away from worrying about the latest text you’ve received.
Why do kids need to do this?
According to the Australian Government website ‘1 in 7 primary aged children, and 1 in 4 secondary aged children, are experiencing mental health problems’. If kids were able to tap into themselves and their emotions more frequently, they would find a deeper sense of calm.
Some other benefits include:
- Reduce worries, anxiety, distress and mitigate the effects of bullying
- Enjoy more energy
- Learn how to relax and regulate emotions
- Enhance awareness and creativity
- Improve concentration and increase productivity
- Improve social skills
- Develop a sense of empathy and connectedness
- Enjoy better health and sleep
- Enhance focus in children with ADHD by reducing attention problems
How do I integrate this into my child’s routine?
Once you set a routine with your child, it’ll become almost normal that this is an everyday occurrence. If you get the whole family doing it, your child/children will tend to look forward to some headspace time (win win for you too!). Ways to do this in the following:
- Cosmic Kids is a popular channel on Youtube which specialise in helping kids find their sense of calm – visit it here: https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga
- Headspace (for kids) – This is an app that teaches parents and children about meditation for different age ranges with a focus on kindness, bedtime and inner-calm
- Pop down to your local MyFirstGym club and try our Yoga classes. They introduce the fundamentals of yoga and children’s mind/body awareness in a fun and engaging way.
- Create and try activities for mindfulness i.e. the mindful jar.
What are some tips I can take home?
- Ensure that your child/children are in the right frame of mind to try mindfulness out, if they are bouncing off the walls, they most likely won’t be able to find their inner-calm and try it out for the first time.
- Reassure them while they are practicing mindfulness, that it is ok to sometimes get off track, just let them know that it’s normal and let them know how to get back.
- Do it with them! (gives you a break too!)
- Once finished, praise them on being able to complete that particular session, finish by doing something they enjoy, so it creates a frame of mind where practicing mindfulness is fun and not a ‘chore’.
Children desperately need to learn how to remain calm and recenter themselves in this world full of things lurking around the corner, waiting to go wrong. Whether they’re finding it hard with a ‘mean girl or boy’ at school treating them badly or even recovering from an exam which went so wrong, yet you worked so hard, the world is constantly providing us lessons to learn from. We just all need to remember to take one minute out to get the ability to get calm and begin again with a clearer head.