Monday, December 13, 2010

Mindfulness for children

I have a friend who believes in the 10% principle , finding different methods or approaches which compliment CPS – collaborative problem solving. These include medication for mood or chronic impulsivity , good sleep , healthy and regular eating so kids are not hungry , hobbies and personal interests, mentors , sport or exercise and very important meditation and relaxation techniques .

The Mindfulnes approach teaches people and kids to pay attention and to relax . Susan KaiserGreenland has written a book and has some video clips on mindfulness for children.

here are some insights from a parent who uses relaxation and mindfulness with her children.

'Here is one of the books that my dear son and I used to read night after night. You start at the head and work your way down to the feet with this book. It helps w/ relaxation, visualization and breathing. He loved it when he was young.

There are others that come up when you go to Amazon that follow the same principal. This one is to help get to sleep but there are others that teach visualization as a way to slow heart rate, break the stress loop and in general hit pause.

I recommend "The Mindful Child" by Susan Kaiser Greenland.

She offers hope through mindfulness and describes it thusly,

"Mindfulness is an offer of hope as it brings awareness to what happens in one's thoughts, emotions and the physical sensations these engender not with the goal of controlling the mind but of transforming it." She works with children of all religions and beliefs (and their parents).

I don't know how young would be to young as my son(who is 5) uses a mindful vocabulary. He is learning how to talk about his emotions, thoughts, and physical feelings. He will ask for quiet to think. He is learning introspection in a young form

Another thing we used to do was involve my dear son in taking pictures of himself doing activities that calmed him. We would talk about how he could use those pictures (mount them on paper, hole punch and put a ring around) when he wasn't calm to remind him how to be or get calm.

Visual cues can be quite helpful.

I find this different for different age groups. When my ds was younger, we would use picture schedules/reminders. That way even if the mind wanders there is a way to bring it back on track. And actually a wandering mind is better for explosiveness as it can be diverted from that part of the brain  used for fight or flight easier. So, that's a good thing.

Here is a site that has information on picture schedules/reminders, etc.

These ideas transfer easily to use as reminders when the mind wanders. We get used to pulling them out.

I have found them great for young kids too with help re: coping skills. They are upset or agitated and don't know how to calm down (their minds are locked or looping) and they have the pictures (one can make their own pictures) depicting the steps used...breathing....visualizing the bear, etc. '

Teaching mindfulness to children



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