What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a way of training the brain to be present. It’s a secular meditative practice which involves paying attention to what is happening at this moment and doing so with an attitude of kindness, acceptance and non-judgment.
As such, cultivating mindfulness results in greater self-awareness and enables us to become more joyful, more empathic and more resilient.
We can learn to respond with greater wisdom and flexibility to difficult emotions and experiences and learn to live with greater happiness and vitality.
Mindfulness for kids meets a great need for parents and children alike to find physical and mental calm in these demanding times, But calmness alone is not enough, awareness is also needed.
Eline Snel developed a program of mindfulness training for children and adolescents which is based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s eight-week MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) for adults.
By practicing mindful presence and awareness, kids learn to pause for a moment to catch their breath and to get set a sense of what they need at this moment in time. This allows them to move out of automatic pilot mode, recognize impulses for what they are and learn to accept that not all things in life are nice and cool
They learn to bring attention to everything they do. They learn not to hide anything but instead to foster understanding of their own inner world as well as that of others.
By experiencing qualities such as attention, patience, trust and acceptance at a young age, your children will be firmly rooted in the here and now, with ample space to grow and be themselves.
Mindfulness exercices are suitable for all kids ages five and up who want to calm the churning thoughts in their heads, learn to feel and understand their emotions and improve their concentration.
They also suit children who suffer from low self-esteem and need reassurance that it is okay to be themselves. A lot of kids are extremely insecure, thinking they are not good and cool enough. They worry and then deal with their distorted self-image.
The exercices are also suitable for children diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia and autism spectrum disorders. Of course these exercices can’t cure disorders, but most kids really enjoy doing the exercices and also benefit from them.
Mindfulness is not a therapy, but it can be therapeutic.It gives kids a different approach to dealing with very real issues, such as emotional storm or a compulsion to act on every simple thought.