Mindfulness for children may be a hard concept to envisage if your family life is something other than the ideal home of tranquility and good feeling. But it is an idea worth exploring, for a couple of reasons.
Habits acquired early in life can have a profound impact on future development. With all of the interest in mindfulness as a practice that can help adults cope with the turbulence of everyday life, it makes sense to think about beginning to teach our children some of these skills.
Sometimes it may help to begin with a more active practice. So, for example, yoga for children may be helpful place to start.
A quick Internet search in most areas should come up with a number of options.
Also, it is pretty easy to add mindfulness into the storytelling that is so often a part of putting children to bed. In fact, one of my favorite sites, Calm.com, has a new feature with bedtime stories for children which several of my patients have found to be helpful as a way for them to get ready to sleep.
Amy Salzman, the author of the book in the picture above, is also the author of a delightful set of mp3 recordings, also called A Still Quiet Place, which I found helpful with my kids when they were growing up.
All of the tracks on that recording are useful but I especially liked the one called “Wilds” because of the way the musical background helps to capture the attention of an exuberant and energetic child and then gradually, as the music calms down, help them to transition into a quieter mood.
Since this isn’t actually a website devoted to parenting, you may wonder why it is that I’m writing about this topic.
That brings me to the second good reason for incorporating mindfulness practice into our child’s experience of home. Sometimes the best way of getting parents, especially mothers, to pay attention to their own needs is to tie that activity into the task of caring for children.
And sitting with your children while they listen to a mindfulness tape or MP3 is actually a pretty good way of beginning to incorporate a little bit more mindfulness into the often hectic life of a parent of young children.