What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness has many definitions but one I like to use with kids is, “paying attention to what is happening right here, right now, with kindness and curiosity.”
How is learning mindfulness helpful to our family?
Practicing mindfulness helps kids and their parents gain insight into what is happening within and around them, how to attend to each moment of their lives more fully while releasing unhealthy thought patterns, how to understand others’ perspectives while practicing empathy and compassion, and other skills that can lead to more fulfilling lives and relationships. Mindfulness has been linked to the development of attention skills, stress reduction, emotional regulation, and kindness.
What is a typical group like?
Family-centered mindfulness groups are designed to engage the members of a family together through lots of turn-and-talk moments, games, interactive experiences, stories, and crafts. A typical group starts with mixer questions to get families talking among themselves and with other participants. Next we play a mindfulness game that involves focusing attention while moving. For instance, games like Reverse Simon Says or Mirroring call upon participants to pay close attention to the leader’s words and body movements. We then do a family-friendly meditation practice, such as focusing our attention on the movement of our breath or visualizing a special, relaxing place. The week’s theme will then be presented and families will have an opportunity to get involved by discussing a story, doing a craft, or participating in other engaging experiences. We end with creative journaling and a group discussion about how to apply the lesson throughout the week. Examples of weekly themes include topics such as attention, appreciation, acceptance, an open mind, compassion, etc.
What age group are these classes designed for? Can young children participate?
Kids between the ages of 6-12 and their parents will likely get the biggest gain from the group, however, parents are invited to bring children of any age. If your younger child needs a break and you need to step out of the room for a few moments to attend to their needs, you are welcome to do so and rejoin the group when you return.
How can I incorporate mindfulness into daily family life?
Kids actually learn mindfulness best when it is incorporated through lots of small moments. Through mindfulness groups, we will work together to come up with lots of simple ways to bring mindfulness into your life without overwhelming family members.
Here are some easy examples:
Talking about something positive that happened today or what you are thankful for
Taking a few deep breaths to settle yourself before starting your day
Enjoying the smell and sight of a beautiful flower
Playing “I Spy” to teach children how to focus their visual attention
Imagining a soothing light shining on each part of your body as you purposefully relax them
Imagining how another person may be feeling
Have any other questions? Please feel free to contact me!