Practicing Mindfulness with Children




Children really don’t need to know, on a deep level, that the source of all things is not a multipurpose condiment, to enjoy meditation.IMG_1566

Whatever your religious faith or spiritual persuasion, it is quite reassuring to find the concept of mindfulness being introduced in the public school system. Not having followed a religion as a child, we agnostics just went to the library during Scripture. Last year, the school invited some facilitators to introduce the practices of Mindfulness, and the children really got a lot from this. Visualising a peaceful place – an imagined physical location they could revisit, practicing slowing their minds, actively releasing worries.

For myself, positive affirmations on the bedroom wall and curious essential oils didn’t come until adolescence and I always found them very soothing. But why wait until your children are riddled with teen angst? General miscellaneous relaxing music usually helps children unwind at bedtime, but when it’s really going pear shaped, a shade more focus may be needed.

Someone once referred to my mind as like a can of worms. It wasn’t the most flattering likeness; raw, imprisoned, only able to be accessed with a sharp metal object, routinely used as bait…while my mind can get a bit giddy, I prefer to think of it as a field of bunnies rehearsing an interpretative dance routine…

However, seems my daughter is just a touch like me, so I was looking for something else the other night. The running stream water just makes them think they need a wee.IMG_3009

The whales are a tad erratic I find, and the Tibetan bells a bit funereal.  We have our favourite peace, goodwill and larks in the meadow one we listen to routinely ( how about that adaptability huh?) but on this particular night  it wasn’t cutting it, so I went looking for some guidance.

Not being a family who owns things like proper sounds systems – we do have an old cd player, but no cd remains unscratched- the meditation music is often googled and played on the computer. This goes against the laws of decent REM melatonin producing sleep, in which no electronic devices or light should be present in the room…but unless I am actually going to hide behind the tapestry and play the lute for 45 minutes, google it is, for now.

So, the guided meditation I chose was great, about 20 minutes, pretty straightforward. I am sure there are meditation recommendations aplenty, but I like just winging it, and seeing what comes up on the night.
Children respond very well to the suggestions put forward in a guided meditation, having more open minds, where imaginative possibilities are not chased out of town with pitchforks.

They are less likely to lie there dutifully like a prone stone, trying not to scratch their noses, and thinking about everything, as in EVERYTHING that could possibly intrude on our mind with its trivial persistence, the tedious thoughts only occasionally punctuated by a cynical …IMG_1740

                                       oh yeah right, like the universe is actually going to support me

No, children, are not like this at all…they are perfectly comfortable walking towards a rainbow ball of light, their feet lightly touching the silken grass…

So, if you haven’t already, find one your kids like and give it a go, breathe the worms out…breathe the bunnies in…

Just be careful not to choose one that sounds like the background music to Minecraft. Now there’s an Orwellian concept.IMG_1569


Anna O’Faolan is the Author/Editor of The Lark –A Magazine For Children.

Join Peppy and Lars for a discussion on mindfulness, in the next edition of The Lark


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