Little mindful minds

We are all so caught up in rushing in our day-to-day lives. Getting kids ready for school, deadlines at work, picking up kids from school, making sure baths and homework are complete before bed (phew… am tired from just writing that!) that we forget to take little moments to nurture ourselves.

In my job, self-care is so important: to make sure that I am not burning out and to make sure I am giving my best to the people I work with. My self-care comes in different forms; regular massages, spending time in nature or having meaningful conversations with my 7-year-old nephew whose honesty always puts life into perspective.

I often tell Mums to do a little something for themselves: Taking five minutes to savour a cup of tea, a soap opera episode before bed or a chat on the phone to a compassionate ear. This can help their energy levels to manage the rest of the day or week.

I have now begun giving the same advice to children and young people. The general misconception is that children are always playing, have nothing to worry or stress about, and are not aware of what is happening around them. However, children and young people are often those that experience vicarious stress or worry, and generally, have no autonomy in a situation.

Mindfulness for children is a practical way to teach children how to manage their stress. It allows them to become more in-tune with what their bodies signals are telling them, giving them the ability to differentiate between safe and unsafe situations and to have control over their bodies reactions.

This website has guided meditations for children that I have found to be very good, helping kids develop more self-awareness and concentration.

https://annakaharris.com/mindfulness-for-children/

Like anything, it takes practice for children and young people to get the hang of it. Therefore, it is a good idea for it to be placed into their daily routines (even on days when they seem like they are not stressed and do not need it). After all, we have more patience to learn something new when we are not under pressure. This is just one strategy that can make a big difference when children need to self-sooth and feel nurtured.

Another great resource that is both wonderful for kids and parents alike is Susan Kaiser Greenland’s website: https://www.susankaisergreenland.com/mindfulness-for-busy-parents

It has meditations for parents to help with uncertainty, letting go and changing our mind. It also has a kids section with mindful audio, mindful videos and a mindful game app too.

Life is filled with uncertainty and stressful situations, but we have the potential to have control over our bodies and our emotions. And when we have control, we can manage anything.

Written by Ranjani

Illustration by Lindsay duPont from Susan Kaiser Greenland’s website

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