by Janet Etty-Leal….
Our life is literally the creation of our mind.
Mindful practices empower children to make kind, positive choices for themselves and the world.
A wide, wonderful window of opportunity exists to engage children with positive mindful possibilities–creative opportunities for children, of all ages, to nurture the ability to cultivate conscious, compassionate awareness.
Self-knowledge is the key skill that is developed–and the great news is that mindfulness training can be fun! A diverse range of creative, age-appropriate experiences can be shared and explored.
Mindful meditation for children is getting the attention it deserves. Mindfulness programs are being developed by universities and organisations in many different countries. Studies taking place in schools across the globe give evidence of positive outcomes for children when they commit to regular practice.
Mindfulness benefits for children include :
- Elevated happiness and wellbeing
- Improved concentration and academic performance
- Effective stress management skills
- Improved execution function and impulse control
- Enhanced emotional and social intelligence
- Increased optimism and resilience
Drawing on the key character strength of curiosity, an inquiry-based approach enables each child to ‘join their own dots’ and make personal discoveries.
Often learning has an external focus. Yet there is so much to learn and discover about our inner world. Mindful meditation addresses this imbalance. Children can begin to deeply appreciate and begin to feel custodians of the magnificent inner resource of their bodies and minds. They can take steps to befriend themselves and life, as they practise the skills of awareness, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, and empathy and care for others.
In the excellent book ‘Educating from the Heart: Theoretical and Practical Approaches to Transforming Education’Paul Houston says that education is about making connections and that if we can connect to the hearts of children: ‘…you will bring their heads along’.He also says, ‘We are the keepers of children’s possibilities’.
Parents, grandparents, teachers and therapists are privileged to be ‘keepers of children’s possibilities’.
We know that physical health does not come about by chance. Physical wellbeing is the result of diet, exercise, hydration, rest and healthy relationships. Positive mental health exists in a symbiosis with physical health and is usually not the result of luck either.
The life skill of inner connectedness is vital for children to thrive. Mindfulness helps children develop a personal ‘root system’–a strong, stable foundation, drawing on awareness of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual sources of energy.
Our life is literally the creation of our mind. Mindful practices empower children to make kind, positive choices for themselves and the world.
Janet Etty-Leal is a mindfulness educator, speaker, author and teacher. She has facilitated mindfulness training programs for over 15 years. Janet’s consultancy, ‘Meditation Capsules’ has provided mindful life-skill programs for organisations in Victoria and interstate. A key focus of Janet’s work is to provide services to the educational sector. She has facilitated courses for a diverse range of government, private and special Schools. In 2010 she published ‘Meditation Capsules: A Mindfulness Program for Children’.
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