#21DaysOfSummerMindfulness Challenge- Day 21 – Developing Mindfulness in Children

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Congratulations! You have made it to the last day of the #21DaysOfSummerMindfulness Challenge! Today we will end on a positive note and show gratitude!

We are a world of moaners. Whinging and moaning about everything from the weather to government is a favourite pastime of the young and old alike. We focus on the bad and are surprised by the good. This leads to a vicious cycle of negativity which then becomes the focus of our attention and anything positive is seen as just a fluke or fleeting moment.

By taking the time to be grateful and lingering in the grateful moment, we start to be mindful of the good things in the world. We start to see more positive things; positivity breeds positivity. We start to see the good in people, we crave it and, when we see it, we want to repeat even more good.

This MUST be modeled to children so that they can see the positive effects that gratitude can have on their personal lives.

Today, the challenge is a FAMILY challenge. I declare today, #RandomActsOfKindness Day!

We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life; mindlessly moving through the day without a real thought to what is happening to others around you. Today, our mindfulness practice with our children will focus on others. We will do this through random acts of kindness.

During the day, have the family randomly do some form of kindness for another person. It does not require any money, only your own free act of kindness.

If you are finding it hard to come up with some ideas, here are some to get you started.

  • Make a Thank You card for someone thanking them for their love, caring, help or any other thing that person has done for you.
  • Do a chore for a sibling or parent without asking.
  • Smile at a stranger that is looking sad.
  • Tweet or Facebook message a genuine compliment to three people right now.
  • While you’re out, compliment a parent on how well-behaved their child is.
  • When everyone around you is gossiping about someone, be the one to butt in with something nice.
  • Write a positive note and leave it in a random place to be discovered by one or more people.
  • Email or write to a person who has made a difference in your life.
  • Let someone into your lane on your way to or from work.
  • Give someone an unexpected hug!

Have each family member try to do at least three RAKs during the day.

I hope that these past 21 days have given you and your child and opportunity to develop mindful practices that are having a positive effect on your lives.

Please let me know how you are getting on over time.

You can continue to follow via:

Blog: Education’s Voice https://educationsvoice.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @Ed_Tmprince

Facebook: Education’s Voice- Mindfulness https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/

 

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#21DaysOfSummerMindfulness Challenge- Day 20 – Developing Mindfulness in Children

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Hands-on and creative mindful activities that involve both tangible objects and nature allows for a playful and fun activity that encourages mindfulness. Thich Nhat Hanh developed this specific meditation, Pebble Meditation,  for children that engages the mind, develops gratitude, relieves stress, increases concentration and helps children deal with emotions.

How to do a Pebble Meditation:

    1. Have your child collect four pebbles, rocks or shells before the meditation. (This could be part of a Mindful Walk.) Ensure that have something to store their pebbles in so that the meditation can be redone as often as desired.
    2. They are to sit up straight and relax; placing the four pebbles in front of them.
    3. The child picks up the first pebble and says, “Breathing in, I see myself as a flower. Breathing out, I feel fresh. Flower, fresh “(3 breaths). The words “flower, fresh” are repeated quietly for three in and out breaths. Repeat with the three other pebbles.
    4. Breathing in I see myself as a mountain, breathing out, I feel solid.” Mountain, solid. (3 breaths)
    5. Breathing in I see myself as still, clear water, breathing out, I reflect things as they really are.” Clear water, reflecting. (3 breaths)
    6. Breathing in I see myself as space, breathing out, I feel free.” Space, free. (3 breaths)

 

Top Tips:

  • You can start and end the meditation with the ringing of a bell or chime.
  • As your child learns the meditation, they can lead the others in the meditation.

 

Further resources to go with the Pebble Meditation can be found here:

 

  • After they become confident in this meditation, encourage your child to come up with their own meditation for the four pebbles, ie loving kindness, gratitude, friends, etc.

#21DaysOfSummerMindfulness Challenge- Day 19 – Developing Mindfulness in Children

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Studies have shown that progressive muscle relaxation helps a person to relax and become more calm and in control. The results revealed that there was a reduction in the levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress.

High cortisol decreases immunity,  increases abdominal fat deposition, breaks down muscle, bone, and connective tissue and inhibits thyroid hormone activation.

Squish and Relax Meditation is a progressive muscle relaxation method that teaches children how to relax your muscles through a two-step process; tension (squish) and then relaxing particular muscle groups. The exercise helps children to lower their overall stress levels and relax.

  1. Have the children either sit comfortably with their hands in their lap or lie down with their arms to their sides.
  2. Play soft, gentle music in the background.
  3. Have them take a deep breath; breathe in for 5 counts, hold for one count and exhale for 8 counts.
  4. Direct them to become aware of their body in a gentle voice.
  5. Instruct them to slowly move their awareness noticing the different sensations from their:
    1. Face and Nose- Scrunch up tightly.
    2. Jaw- Bite down hard.
    3. Arms and Hands- Squeeze tightly like you are trying to pick up a heavy weight.
    4. Arms and Shoulders- Squeeze tightly like you are holding a heavy load.
    5. Stomach- Tighten your tummy like you are trying to get your belly button to touch your spine.
    6. Legs and Feet- Squeeze tightly like you are trying to hold a ball between your knees.
    7. Whole Body- Squish your entire body as tightly as you can and on release allow your body to go limp.
  6. Have children hold all poses for a count of five and release completely.
  7. Have the children remain at rest for a few more deep breaths, being aware of your body breathing.
  8. Discuss with the children how their bodies felt during and after. What did they notice? How could this help them when they are angry, upset or anxious?

Top Tip:

  • Want a script? Use an internet search engine and look for “Progressive Muscle Relaxation script for children” or search on YouTube for “Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Children”.

Don’t forget to share your child’s #mindfulmoment and successes in the comments, on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at Education’s Voice – Mindfulness ( https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ ).

#21DaysOfSummerMindfulness Challenge – Day 18 – Developing Mindfulness in Children

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When we are mindful, we are being in the moment. We are not racing ahead and planning the future nor are we rehashing what has happened in the past. Children, for the most part , are naturally mindful; immersing themselves in the moment is very empowering and relaxing.

Today’s challenge is to support children in the immersion of nature, to see nature’s beauty and to create works of art that emphasises that beauty that can be seen in shape, structure, texture and colour.

Nature Mandalas

(If, for religious reasons you find mandalas inappropriate, choose whatever shape you desire.)

1- Get a feel for where the child wants to create their mandala. Do they want it in the grass, on a table, in the sand, etc ?

2- They are to spend time searching the area for the materials they want to use. Encourage the exploration, taking time to really look at the colours and shapes and really feeling the textures. Encourage a variety while also encouraging them to tell you about what they see, feel, smell and hear.

3- Once they feel they have enough materials collected, have them begin to create their mandala. Each mandala reveals itself gradually through the process of creation.

4- Once the mandala is complete, encourage them to explain what they have done and why. Ask them how the process made them feel and how do they feel when they look at the creation. Spend some time just admiring the creation and enjoying the art of nature.

5- Have your child take a picture or draw their creation as a reminder of being mindful and in the moment.

Don’t forget to share your child’s #mindfulmoment and successes in the comments, on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at Education’s Voice – Mindfulness ( https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ ).

 

#21DaysOfSummerMindfulness Challenge- Day 17 – Developing Mindfulness in Children

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Mindfulness is an integrative, mind-body based approach that helps people change the way they think and feel about their experiences, especially stressful experiences. Giving children this life skill when they are young supports their over all social and emotional development.

Many of us hold stress in our shoulders. It is like a primitive form of contracting our muscles to spring into the fight or flight mode.

Today’s challenge is to get your child to recognise the tension that builds up in their bodies, particularly in the shoulders. When they relax their shoulders and accept the the feeling of restfulness that accompanies they become more relaxed and mindful.

Shoulder Relaxation (How to explain it to your child.)

– Breath deeply and, on the exhale, allow your shoulders to drop towards the floor as if someone is pressing them downward.

– Continue to breathe deeply for five breaths, allowing your shoulders to slightly rise on the inhale and then completely drop on the exhale.

– Recognise how the muscles feel in the shoulder and neck. Remember, do not judge the tension. Just recognise it is there and release the tension.

Don’t forget to share your child’s #mindfulmoment and successes in the comments, on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at Education’s Voice – Mindfulness ( https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ ).

#21DaysOfSummerMindfulness Challenge – Day 16 – Developing Mindfulness in Children

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Emotional Intelligence is the capacity of individuals to recognize your own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour.

The greater a person’s emotional intelligence, the better a person can deal with stressful situations in a way that does not escalate the emotion but allows

The first step in developing emotional intelligence is to get children to understand that their emotions are valid. It is not bad to have emotions, good or bad. It is how they deal with and react to these emotions that makes a difference.

Today’s challenge is to talk about emotions like you talk about the weather with your child. This is one you should do OFTEN and EVERY day!

Ask your child,

-What emotion are you feeling right now?
-How does it feel? Is this a good emotion to have in control?
-How can we change emotions?

Validate emotions when you see them in your child and give them a mindful strategy to use?
Example:
-“You are upset because you hurt yourself when you fell down. It is ok to be upset. Now, you need to breathe to get control of that emotion.”
-“You are angry at your sister for disturbing your game. It is ok to be angry. Now, you need to do the starfish hand meditation to get control of that emotion.”

Don’t forget to share your child’s #mindfulmoment and successes in the comments, on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at Education’s Voice – Mindfulness ( https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ ).

#21DaysOfSummerMindfulness – Day 15 – Developing Mindfulness in Children

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Developing mindfulness has a lot to do with shifting of perspectives. Humans have some deeply laid neuropathways that allow us to fall into a habit of reactions. This is particularly true with children.

They don’t even realise they are reacting; they just do it. Those automatic responses just more deeply ingrains responses; many which are negative or destructive to their (and your) own health and well-being.

This anagram is a good, quick mindful strategy for children to use with parents able to easily remind them with one clear word, STOP.

10 Second Mindfulness- STOP

This is a simple but effective strategy to refocus our attention.

S- Stop what you are doing.
T- Take a deep breathe. Breathe in for a count of 5, fold for a count of one and exhale for a count of 8.
O- Observe what is happening around you at this moment.
P- Proceed with what you were doing.

Repeat at least five times today at times of calm and then introduce it during the “melt downs” as well.

Don’t forget to share your child’s #mindfulmoment and successes in the comments, on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at Education’s Voice – Mindfulness ( https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ ).