If asked what we want for our children, most parents would say, "Happiness." Undoubtedly, we want our kids to get a good education, have good friends, and succeed, but more than all that, we want them to be happy. Mindfulness is a tool that can help children (and parents) experience more happiness.
What is mindfulness? It's a moment-by-moment observation of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. We simply notice these thoughts without labeling them as good or bad.
The benefits of mindfulness are manifold. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness reduces depression and stress, while increasing well-being. It improves the ability to focus and learn, essential in a classroom environment. Mindfulness helps us pause before reacting impulsively, allowing us to make thoughtful responses.
How do we start a mindfulness practice?
Sit on a cushion or chair, back straight but not stiff, hands gently placed on your legs. Observe your breath as it goes in and out. Your mind will wander and that's ok. Just bring your attention back to your breath. 5-10 minutes of mindfulness is plenty for a beginner. Younger children can start with one minute. Set a regular practice then increase your time.
Sites to learn more about mindfulness for children: