Mindfulness with your Children
Sadly at an increasingly younger age our children seem to be facing higher levels of stress in their young lives. Mindfulness practices can be benifical for children for exactly the same reasons they are helpful to us adults.
It may seem like a huge daunting task to ask your children to meditate, when you can't even get them to eat breakfast before going to school or get them to concentrate on their homework. Mindfulness can help children to have a happier school/social experience, to focus during exams and reduce stress and anxiety.
Being Mindful is the ability to sustain a focused awareness on the present moment whilst acknowleding and accepting your feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, maybe a little challenging for children to fully understand, although parents can gently begin to help their children discover their awareness. Parents could start by introducing short quiet times, bringing awareness to breathing maybe in the morning or evening, a few moments can be really helpful at reducing the physical symtoms of hightened excitement or anxiety. Breathing is also benifical for the youngest of children games like pretending to lay still like vegtables. Learning to focus on thier breathing will take a little practice at first so a game is always a great place to start, placing thier favourite teddy on their tummy and rocking it to sleep with the motion of the rise and fall of their belly whilst breathing, pretending that their bellies are balloons making them bigger and smaller. Focusing on our senses is a really helpful tool, a listening or seeing walk, paying attention to what you can hear or see whilst standing still for a few moments during the walk, maybe stopping at a favourite spot to do this, if its a walk that you take regularly. Asking your children at the end of their day to remember something happy, nice or glad that had happened to them or someone else they know, can help them to keep themselves in a positive frame of mind.
As adults we fully understand that the vast ocean that is our lives, has small ripples to major storms that we need to endure from time to time, generally if we pay attention to our feelings during these times they don't say around to long, shutting them away is just asking them to hang around and possibly build up into a mountain rather than a mole hill, this is exactly the same for our children no matter how old they are.
Enjoy your family breathing sessions.