Round two of Mindful Monday in the Love Is In Da Blog challenge. Last week I committed to practicing mindfulness each day in this post. I’m glad to say I’ve been diligent. I clear my mind everyday on my walk to work. No gadgets, no peeking at my phone. This isn’t mindfulness in its pure form in the sense that I am walking and it’s on a time constraint.
I like to think of it as “active” mindfulness (might have just made that up, I don’t know). While my body is active, I’m still aware of my thoughts, focusing on clearing my mind, and noting the beauty in what is around me. I get to work as the sun is rising so the colors in the sky are what catches my eye and I just let my mind get carried away in the pinks and oranges as my thoughts trail off and I am in a state of just being in the moment.
This week I want to talk about mindfulness in children. I think there are a lot of labels thrown around these days and kids are growing up in a different world than the one I knew as a child. Kids live in a world of instant results, hands on experiences, touch screen everything. As a mom I notice my daughter doesn’t have the resilience that I did as a kid trying to figure things out for myself, no hints, no apps, no Google to help. I see the frustration build up and the wheels slow down when she doesn’t get things right the first time.
Mindfulness is something that I practice with her when I know she needs a release. Even children have stress and can benefit from the practice of mindfulness. I started it a couple of years ago. We would sit outside on the lawn on a Sunday morning, just soaking up the morning sun. I’d play a guided meditation video on YouTube and we would both sit there and listen to the words as it guided us to a beautiful place in our mind’s eye. She loved it and while it took a few Sundays for her to be able to sit through the whole meditation, she always commented on how warm and happy she felt afterwards.
Mindfulness has no minimum age to practice. Of course the younger the child, the more difficult it can be to get them to sit still, but even my one year old benefits from it. Sometimes I will just sit on the couch in silence and she will observe me and settle on my lap. Of course I can’t guide her thoughts but as she lays against my chest, I feel her breathing slow to match my own, and her activeness calm for just a little while.
I encourage you to practice mindfulness with your own children. We practice mindfulness before homework to cut down on the frustration and to help her be in a more calm state of mind which allows her to be more open to direction and help. A quick YouTube search will pull up numerous guided meditation videos specifically for children. I like to listen to them first and know what she will be hearing before she undoubtedly drifts off to sleep. I have a playlist of guided meditations for her because sometimes they are too short to listen to just one. She has favorites that she goes back to and create the pictures in her mind’s eye.
Do you practice mindfulness with your children? When do you practice it? Do you find that it helps? What improvements have you seen? Do you guide them or do you use a video/recording? Do you have a favorite guided meditation for kids you’d like to share? Do you like the idea of practicing mindfulness with your kids? What point of the day do you think you will try to incorporate it? Feel free to leave your thoughts or answers to any of the questions in the comments section below. I’d love to hear what you think.