By Ginny Miller, wellness coach
Children live what they learn from us. I look away for just a moment and my sweet little one is now in high school and well on the way to becoming an adult. How did that happen, you ask?
It seems a cruel trick of time, doesn’t it? As we sometimes reflect on our parenting skills and question if we have done all we can to ensure our children have a solid, balanced, and happy life, doubt creeps in. That is the truth of parenting, yet we have all done the best we could with what we have had.
As a teacher of mindfulness for adults and children, I have witnessed the incredible gift of this basic skill we can give to children. Teaching them the simple practice of mindfulness can truly change the trajectory of a child’s life. It is the act of paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and in a non-judgmental way. Through simple exercises using our breath, with practice we can achieve the ability to change our brains and learn new responses to any situation.
Children often feel unsure of their world. They have big feelings. They often do not know how to express what they are feeling and instead just react. This often results in a meltdown. With a few minutes a day of practicing mindfulness exercises, they can achieve the skill of self-regulation. Parents can also learn these skills and model calming behavior in any situation. Imagine, no more flipping our lids! (Watch the video series in the link below to learn more about that phrase.)
The possibilities for the ways mindfulness can help children and teens are unlimited. They include developing the ability to focus and learn and to self-soothe in any situation. They can support children in accessing their creativity and giving them a greater awareness of the beauty of life and our world, despite situations that may seem scary. They can support us all in creating balanced and loving relationships and in feeling greater joy, kindness, and belonging.
If this sounds too good to be true, I can assure you it is not. This is an evidence-based, trauma-informed technique being taught in many schools and organizations.
If you are ready to jump in, start now, with yourself or with your child or teenager present. Stop, take a breath, and notice what is happening right where you are, right in the present moment. Continue to breathe and relax. Simply notice what is happening around you, how your body feels, and appreciate whatever this moment brings. Invite your child or teenager to join you in this practice any time stress is present, or any time you want to create a calm moment. By teaching this simple skill to children, we give them a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Moment by moment, catch those fleeting days, months, and years of being with your child and embrace the precious gift of life.
Tip: If you want to learn how to practice mindfulness with young children, click on this link to see our Mindful Moments series.
Mindful Moments: a video series for children | La Clinica
If you want to practice mindfulness on your own, click on this link to hear short mindfulness audios.
Audio Library | La Clinica
Both series are available in English and Spanish.