It’s 2017!!! Yea! What a year it will be! So exciting!
We are often excited at the passing of time. Anticipating the happy things that will happen to us this year. Thinking about all the good we can do. Some of us make resolutions. As a teacher and a mom I often think about what the passing of years means to kids. Does it make them excited? Do they have the skills to think about the year ahead and make goals for themselves?
I think they are beginning to understand.
I blogged in the beginning of the year about how we practice mindfulness in our classroom. I have come to believe that it is an essential skill in our hectic World today. Kids are shuttled around from home to school to afterschool activities and back again, sometimes (often) with no transition time or down time. We all hope that children can lead happy, relaxed and calm lives, but often we neither teach them how to do this nor do we lead by example. So this year, I am teaching them more. They have always had their regular day 4 yoga class with Murray. He does an excellent job of leading the students though yoga and mindful activities. I just feel like it needs to be more and as I do it more, maybe it will become more at home too.
Mindfulness and relaxation have many health benefits, Relaxation and a child’s ability to consciously relax the body and clear the mind can also help address issues such as:
- Anxiety – kids have anxiety. When I talk to my class about what makes them anxious they talk about being worried about who they will play with at recess or lunch. They talk about being nervous to start a new school or meet a new teacher in their school.
- Sleep disorders and nightmares – many parents have talked to me about the sleep habits of their 6 and 7 year old. There are many obstacles that are keeping them awake or waking them up in the middle of the night.
- Anger issues
- Focus and concentration issues
- Low-self-esteem or negative attitude
- Life changes such as a move, divorce or change at school
Mindfulness can also address everyday challenges in children’s lives including:
- Being afraid of the dark at bedtime
- Having a bad day at school
- Anxiety about school
- Missing a parent at work or who travels
- Feeling frustrated over school work or at home
Sometimes we do some mindful activities using you tube videos to help guide us. We sit on the carpet together and let the words guide our thoughts and breath.
Here are some examples:
Most of the videos we watch are about 5 minutes or less and then we talk afterwards about what we notice about our body and mind after.
I also use the Imaginations book – Fun Relaxation Stories and Meditations for Kids by Carolyn Clarke. I have the students find a comfy, cozy place all by themselves in the classroom. They have their sketch books with them. They can choose to sketch as I tell a story (meditation) or they can just close their eyes, breath and imagine. Most students choose to draw as I talk. Today we did one called A day at the Beach. Seemed fitting with three indoor recesses and an Extreme Cold Warning outside our classroom window. We all needed an escape to our minds and breath. So we imagined our breath was the Ocean and were guided from there. It was lovely. At the end we shared our sketches with friends and talked about what we noticed as we were listening and meditating.
I hope you and your child can find or have found peacefulness, happiness and a sense of calm in your life. I hope this blog inspires you to maybe try some being mindful activities at home. Perhaps your child can lead you through some.
Have fun and happy relaxing.