Mindfulness with Children & Resources for Caregivers
Written by: Lisa Harrietha-Benson
Independent coach – Nova Scotia, Canada
Mindfulness as described by Jon Kabat-Zinn (founder of mindful based stressed reduction) is the act of paying attention to something in the present moment in a non- judgmental way. The practice of being mindful is becoming quite popular in many areas of the world and with all ages. An online search of mindfulness programs will show programs for children, youth and adults. You will also notice many benefits of mindfulness being listed such as stress/anxiety reduction, pain reduction, increased focus and attention and even increased compassion. These benefits are true for children too! Furthermore, the act of being mindful and paying attention to emotions can increase children’s social emotional skills. Social emotional learning is a key part of childhood development and a high social-emotional IQ has been shown to lead to bigger success in school, work and life.
I truly discovered mindfulness practice about two years ago when I took a six week introduction to mindfulness practice. As I started practicing regularly and taking more time out to just be- I was able to see lots of benefits of practice with less stress and more joy being the biggest. I started sharing meditations and breathing exercises with my son and the children I worked with. I noticed shorter and less tantrums, lower anxiety and increased calmness.
Mindfulness practices can be connected with the tool of “Mind Holidays” in the Kids Life Studio® Coaching Program as well as the ingredient of positive leisure time.
I want to share with you some of my favourite books and resources created to help share mindfulness with children.
The Mindful Child – Susan Kaiser Greenland
Planting Seeds – Practicing Mindfulness with Children – Thich Nhat Hanh and The Plum Village Community
Happy Teachers Change The World- Thich Nhat Hanh and Katherine Weare
The Whole Brain Child – Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
Roots and Wings: Childhood Needs a Revolution
The Mindful Way of Education: Cultivating Well-being in Teachers and Students – Daniel Rechaffen
Mindful Games – Susan Kaiser Greenland
Yoga Pretzels and Mindful Kids- Barefoot Books
I hope you are able to find and enjoy some of these resources. I know I have benefited from them as a parent, an educator and a Kids Life Coach. Start daily mindfulness practice and help your children gain attention, balance and compassion in their lives.