Last Friday, Sarah Thurgood and myself attended a professional development run by ‘Peaceful Kids’ on teaching mindfulness to children. It goes without saying that without developing our own mindfulness practice, we can’t, with any authenticity, teach it to children.
The day was jam-packed with ideas and resources, which will be making their way into our Social and Emotional Learning resource folders. The following is some of what we covered.
‘Focusing on the present moment’ ,‘Being highly aware of present sensations, thoughts and feelings’, ‘Paying attention with flexibility, openness and curiosity’, ‘An awareness process, not a thinking process’. Paying attention without being “caught up” in your thoughts.
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to:
- Decrease stress and anxiety
- Allow connection with the self and values
- Bring a sense of peacefulness and clarity
- Increase self-awareness
- Develop self-acceptance and confidence
- Bring emotional balance and stability
- Decrease worrying thoughts
- Allow compassion and empathy to grow
- Help to view experiences positively
- Decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Improve physical symptoms
- Improve sleep
- Strengthen the immune system
- Dramatically improve concentration and memory
Attitudes of Mindfulness
Acceptance - Accepting what is right now
Non-judging - Just observe what is happening without judgement or wanting to change anything
Patience - It takes time to develop a practice and there is no right or wrong
Beginners Mind - Just noticing, like a child, what your mind is thinking or body is feeling
Trust - Trusting that the experience of meditation will just unfold gently
Non-Striving- Trying not to meditate in a certain way, just allow yourself to be in the present
Letting be / letting go - Just being present without wanting to hold on to positive emotions or get rid of difficult emotions
Kindness and compassion - Practising kindness towards yourself in and out of meditation
Observe your worries like a friendly scientist “Here comes a worry...”,“A worry has arrived...”,“I notice I am worrying...”, “There’s a worrying thought...” “That’s just a worry...”
Riding the waves of emotions
Make peace with each of the waves that life throws you, rather than trying to control how you feel.
• Recognition• Acceptance• Curiosity• Non-judgement
A simple Mindfulness Practise
Guide children to listen and tune in to sounds that are surrounding them. Just listen to the sounds and notice them without judgement. See if they can notice a close sound, a far away sound, a loud sound, a quiet sound, a rhythmic sound etc.