Let’s take a mindful moment to read this.
Our children today live in a fast-paced world and are often characterized by a “more is better” mind-set, both in and out of school. It places our children, under undue performance pressure, over scheduled activities and homework. Thus, over load of information makes it difficult for our working memory to focus. Over a period of time it has been noticed that over stimulated and overscheduled life has become a chronic stressor that leads to psychological problems.
Research shows that teaching mindfulness practices to children can improve their ability to pay attention, to control their tantrums and to make more conscious decisions.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”- Jon Kabat Zinn
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, non- judgmentally.” It is the practice of bringing attention to our thoughts, feelings and actions as they arise from moment to moment.
Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.
Mindfulness and Neuroscience
Mindfulness is rooted in the science of cognitive neuroscience and child development. It is a highly researched and proven practice by neuroscientists to enhance attention and self- regulation. Research has shown that mindfulness practices stimulate the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Regular short practice of mindfulness rewires the neural connections of this part of the brain thus enables us to feel happier, calmer, less anxious and stressed.
Mindfulness Parent Orientation Program
Mindfulness is a ‘way of being’ or an ‘approach to life’. Mindfulness is simply paying attention in the present moment, with kindness and curiosity, and responding rather than reacting to the circumstances.
This training helps children and adolescents enhance their attention and focus (Zenner et al; 2014, Zoogman et al. 2015), improve self–control and emotional regulation (Metz et al; 2013), increases empathy, perspective taking and emotional control, and reduces peer-related aggression (Schonert-Reichl et al;2014).
Mindfulness Parent Orientation Program is the first step toward enrolment for the 8-week Mindfulness Program for Children & Adolescents. The orientation session aims to:
• Understand and explore the concept of mindfulness
• Recognize the science behind Mindfulness
• Experience mindfulness
8- week Mindfulness Program for Children and Adolescents
The eight-week mindfulness program for children and adolescents is a universal program, delivered in community setting. It is adapted for ages 6-18 years, once a week session over 8 weeks, and home practice is recommended between the sessions. The content, use of language, delivery style and activity duration of each session is designed keeping in mind the developmental level of children and adolescents. Research indicates that children who engage in regular practice can increase levels of self-awareness and improve impulse control and self-regulation (Burke, 2010).
During eight-week mindfulness program, children will be engaged in different interactive activities to and participatory. This program is designed age appropriately for children using playful and exploratory activities to reflect on their moment-to-moment experiences. It opens up the possibility of more opportunity in our own lives and ways of working wisely and compassionately with difficulties in life so we can choose what is nourishing for ourselves and others.
The primary intention of the course is to offer children an experience mindfulness and to have them use the art of mindfulness in their daily lives to respond rather than react to everyday events. Below are the basic features of the course:
Participants: The course can be offered children and adolescents’ age ranging between 6-18 years.
Group size: Ten to twelve participants in each group.
Sessions: The program is eight sessions (once a week).
Session length: Each session would of ninety minutes.
Mindfulness practice: The training consists of both formal practice (including body scan, sitting, eating, and walking exercises) and informal practice (focusing attention, attending to the present moment, choosing responses to everyday events).
Home practice: In addition to the weekly group sessions, the participants are encouraged to engage in home practice to reinforce and deepen their in-class learning. Together the training and home practice involve exercises that focus on developing a skill of mindfulness and its application in daily life.
Materials: Participants will receive log-sheet to monitor and to support their home practice, a short script to practices mindfulness.
The expected outcomes from this workshop and continued practice would be to:
• Increased emotional regulation, decreased anxiety
• Increased social skills
• Increased ability to orient attention, working memory and planning and organization
• Increased self esteem
• Increased sense of calmness, and self-acceptance.
• Increased quality of sleep
• Decreased hyperactivity and impulsivity
• Fewer conduct and anger related problems
The eight-week program includes three parent sessions so that they are informed and can reinforce the practice at home (Bruke, 2010). Furthermore, research indicate that parents become more mindful, they become more aware of patterns and interactions between themselves and their children and these interactions eventually become less habitual (Bluth & Wahler, 2011). Mindfulness in parenting breaks the automaticity of engagement and allows parents to change patterns and behaviours (Dumas, 2005).
We invite your children and teens to join us for mindfulness practice.