Although children are easily distracted with their environment, this characteristic is not always a bad thing. Getting distracted to what is happening around them is a sign they are focused on here and now. Whereas adults go on and on about past events and future scenarios, children up to four or five years old stay mainly in the present, where their bodies and their minds are.
The problem with today’s society is we are wearing children down with extra homework, additional activities, and an overachiever agenda. This often leaves children stressed and overwhelmed with emotions. How does this influence them? It is normal that a kid does not know what to do with their emotions; they are learning.
It is even more normal if every time they face difficult emotions, we use distraction – may it be a device, cartoons, or a new toy. Distraction is never a solution in the long-term.
Children deal well with here and now, which is the key to help them and help us long-term. As a mindful teacher, my advice is not to drive them away from the present, even if it takes time and effort. I promise it will be worth it. Even when it is messy and sounds like yelling, crying, and complaining, we need to think about mindfulness as inner gym training.
Mindfulness helps parents guide their children through difficult times and new emotions.
Mindful activities are to mentor our children, so they become a master of their inner world. Teach your little ones the balloon breathing exercise and explain when to use it: when upset, confused, or sad, but also when they are happy, excited, or content.
The balloon breathing gets us relaxed on the floor, with our arms and legs extended and our thoughts focused on a deep and calm stomach breathing. For children to understand better, we have to tell them to imagine they have a balloon in their stomach, and they need to inflate it. Remember to be gentle and patient until daily practice settles in and shows its progress.
The secret in mindful practice with adults and children is to get rid of the idea of perfection. Practice need not be perfect; it needs to be a constant effort.
Mindfulness helps us realize is ok to be upset, but we know that we are not our emotions; our emotions pass. A mindful practice helps adults and children deal with stress and difficulties. Mindful breathing is the foundation of our practice and helps us understand the importance of our breath. Start with five minutes of practice a day.
Let me know how it goes!
Little Wellness for you and your loved ones.