Teaching Mindfulness and Meditation to Children… Quote from the article,
Planting the Seeds of Mindfulness
“Earlier this morning, my daughter has asked me if I had meditated after I woke up, and it just so happens that I had, so I knew meditation was on her mind. As she sat at the dining room table, sobbing into her cereal, I told her that one reason I meditate is so I can practice choosing my thoughts, so I can get better at keeping the ones I want and getting ride of the ones I don’t.”
As vice chair of Neighbors for Kids, I have the privilege and opportunity to work closely with our staff and the children as part of my role as a board member for this amazing after-school program in Depoe Bay, Oregon. Our program is growing with many new kids registering for the start of the new school year and a very popular summer camp well underway. Our kids become very excited and busy with recreation and academic programs centered in a core learning curriculum known as “STEAM,” A Framework for Teaching Across the Disciplines. We are also an after-school site for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers project in collaboration with the Lincoln County School District (LCSD).
Our teachers and volunteers take a few minutes before each class to help students relax and refocus…a mindfulness exercise. The exercise is as simple as staying quiet for 3 minutes with some deep breathing and positive thoughts. Often children are distracted because of the challenges of socializing and sometimes from sad thoughts. I could easily see that taking a little time for meditation with the kids helps them get ready for a new learning experience. The short break between programs also helps us adults do a better job of mentoring and teaching kids as well.
I have written often in this blog about the topic of “mindfulness” (click highlighted text for video clip) in the context of life after trauma for adults. But the practice and benefits of meditation or mindfulness therapy definitely apply broadly as a way to relax for people of all ages. Children in particular get stressed out the same as adults. We all need a mindful timeout a few times a day to stay calm and focused on the joy of living, learning, and growing.
Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story… Click highlighted text for my author page…