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by Janice Symons-Bradbury  

My apologies it has been quite a while since I blogged on my website. This delay in communication led to me to ponder on the busy lives we are currently living and how prevalent it has become for many of us to lose focus of the here and now. It seems times are moving at a rapid pace and those of us with kids seem to be in consensus that time is a delusion. Our children are faced with time pressures wherever they go and they are bombarded with school work and assessments.

As a mom of an anxious 10 year old I feel his pain. It seems the pressures are creating many anxious children who are struggling to cope with the fast pace of 2016. After getting caught up in the rush and bustle of this year I have woken up in October to realize the importance of MINDFULNESS. Hence the website: Mindfulheart. My aim has always been to connect the mind and heart. How better to do this than to introduce mindfulness practice into mine and my family’s life once again. Let’s get kids back in touch with themselves and their surroundings.

Here are some mindfulness tips for you to try. I challenge you all ….let’s get our minds (and our kids) back!!!!!!


Starting a Mindfulness Meditation Practice with Anxious Kids 

The number one rule of starting a mindfulness meditation practice with your anxious child is to make sure you practice what you preach, so to speak. Getting your own firm grasp on what mindfulness means and how to go about practicing meditation with mindfulness as your aim is a must before you can successfully teach it to others. Once you’ve grasped the concept, mindfully, a number of tips can help you introduce your anxious child to a mindfulness meditation practice.

Start small. The youngest kids may need to start with a session as short as five, or even three, minutes until they can learn to sit still and settle for longer periods of time.

Make it a daily habit – for both you and your anxious child. Set a specific time aside every morning or evening, either early in the morning or after all the chaos has died down. Mark the session on your schedule and stick to it daily, the same way you’d perform other daily tasks such as eating breakfast or brushing your teeth. Once the habit of mindfulness forms during meditation, you anxious child can more easily take it “off the cushion” and into their daily lives.

Let your kid be creative. Kids will often be able to “see” their breath or stress in their body much better than an adult, a prime reason guided meditations and imagery can be so helpful for children with anxiety. It may be difficult for you to get in touch with your stress or anxiety, but a child can easily watch it flow in their body, give it a color, and assign it other attributes that allow them to more easily control it better.

Don’t rule out bribery, especially in the beginning. Incentives can be a big boost for helping to achieve a goal.  In this case, the goal is a mindfulness meditation session, the incentive is of your choosing, and the outcome can be your first successful session with your anxious child!

Incentives don’t have to consist of a new toy or junk food, they can be something as simple as a solid dose of praise or some extra time playing on the floor with mom or dad. Praise or extra playtime can often make your kid light up far brighter than anything you could buy.

Build a “sanctuary” with them. Let your kid pick out stuff that they think will help them relax and be calm. Forget noisy and colorful toys, but pick up a few special stones while out on a walk or small plants they admire. Let them be involved in building this special place that is not for jumping and playing but instead set aside for quiet and calm to get them in the mood for meditation.

Getting Started in 5 Minutes

You’ve reviewed the tips, set up the sanctuary, and now you’re ready for you and your anxious child’s first meditation session. Congratulations! Here are five super-quick steps to get started.

  1. Sit in a quiet area away from distractions (turn off your cell phone!).
  2. Remain still and quiet, breathing naturally for at least 1 minute, as your mind and body begin to relax.
  3. Explain to your child you are going to close your eyes and count your breath in your mind as you sit for 5 minutes. Illustrate the counting by doing it for your child and counting out loud. Breathe in and count one, breathe out and count one. Breathe in and count two, breathe out and count two, and so on.
  4. Set a timer for 5 minutes, or whatever length you desire for the first session. A simple egg timer or kitchen timer will do.
  5. Have your child close their eyes and begin the breath counting in their mind as you do the same until the timer goes off.
  6. Compare notes on what the session was like. What did it feel like? What did your mind do? Discuss any other topics that come up.

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