Mindfulness is For Everyone to Share

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Last week I held a workshop for parents and children at a playgroup. Many were very small so it was as much for the parents as it was for kids! I used Making Mindful Magic as a basis and parents and children did these experiences from the book together. It was a wonderful reminder to me of why this all started for me – the goal was and remains to bring adults and children together so they can live a more mindful life, one where it is normal to take life slower and more purposefully rather than the constant rushed life that can easily become normal!

As we all shared the mindful experiences, adults and children alike and as I spoke with parents afterwards, I realised more and more that we all need these mindful moments and reminders. I’ve been told by many adults that they use the book for themselves as much as for their children. I love to hear this and it, of course, illustrates the point that as adults we need to be aware that being mindful needs our attention and by taking the time to practice, the more it becomes embedded in our lives and flows down to our children.  

Especially at the beginning and with kids, we need a plan to put mindful moments into practice!  It maybe sounds very formal and in a way, the antithesis of being spontaneously mindful but actually diarising a mindful experience is a really good way to begin to remind us to be mindful! So, what if we all knew that at the start and end of every day we would sit, adults and children, for 2 minutes and be still and quiet and to breathe slowly and calmly?  What difference do you think that could make to a household or a classroom? I think those couple of minutes could make a huge difference with little effort. You can start this as early as you like with your child. If you sit still and breathe calmly yourself and ignore any call for attention, I believe they too will adopt this practice as their own because that’s their normal. They come to think, it’s just what happens in my life, I know it and I do it. 

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You can not only be the example but you can be the coach as well – try wrapping yourself around them from behind and being the security blanket that keeps them in place. You can use props – timing bells to start and finish, a cushion which is always the ‘sit quietly cushion’, a special crystal to hold that tells them it’s time to ‘sit quietly’, slow, calm music to set the mood. The reward is everyone leads a less stressful life as being in this calm moment becomes almost addictive as we search for me of and that’s how it can become our ‘normal’!

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I like to think our book, Making Mindful Magic is for everyone and I hope you can use it as a conversation starter, a motivator and tool to create your own mindful experiences with the children in your lives. You’ll find a guide for adults at the back of the book if you’d like a little more background or theory. Visit our website to buy the book and have a ‘hold it in your hand’ reminder to leave on the coffee table and you’ll also find there more ideas and resources. I also invite you to Join us every Friday on Instagram - we're @makingmindfulmagic - for our Weekly Mindful Activity. You’re always welcome and we love sharing!  Being educated about mindfulness and practicing it as an adult invites us to share the gift with our children!

Building Mindfulness in Children

Last week-end I had lunch with a group of people who I don’t know really well but I see once a month as part of an interest group. One of the women gave me a compliment that meant a lot to me. Without knowing my passion for mindfulness, she said, ‘You always seem so calm’. It got me thinking about cultivating that because other than my regular morning routine I hadn’t done anything else deliberately mindful that morning. I think you become calmer because you have a desire to be and as you practice more and more often to be mindful, it slowly filters into your everyday life. Being calm just feels normal eventually. Of course, there are times when we are reactive and agitated but over time these become fewer in frequency and shorter in duration.

Last week’s blog was pretty much about that theme and when we focus on children at home or school it makes total logical sense to invite them to participate in mindful experiences as almost a medium that will ultimately deliver them into a self-induced mindful way of living their lives.

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With this in mind, we’ve introduced a weekly mindful activity into our social media regime. Mostly they will be easy and inexpensive and always fun! They will be delivered on a Friday in case you need to plan for the experience and it also opens the opportunity for it to be given some priority in family life in much the same ways as swimming lessons – maybe put it in your diary or make a sign and stick it on the fridge. Perhaps it could then become a bit of a random game you can play once you have collected a number of ‘mindful experience cards’ and can be done however often you can.  In my workshops (link here) as a parting gift I give each child a card with a mindful activity written on it. I invite them to not only do the activity but also to use it as a reminder to be mindful by putting it in a prominent place at home – maybe on the fridge or noticeboard.

As you might have already decided for yourself – encouraging mindfulness is not hard. It just needs in the first place for us as adults to be mindful enough ourselves to remember it as a priority and to provide not only the example to be mindful but also opportunities for our kids to practice being mindful. We are then also offering them the opportunity for that feeling of peace and calm to become a part of who they want to be. Peaceful, calm children who become peaceful, calm adults may be the perfect antidote to the increasingly crazy world we live in.