To begin our guidance lessons each week, students are welcomed to a Mindful Moment practice. They are invited to find a comfortable position that is alert and intentional, to close their eyes, and to focus one of their five senses as an anchor to paying attention on purpose, without judgment, to the present moment. We might focus with our ears on the sound of a chime until it disappears, or with our eyes on the flowing sand of a timer, or with our hands on the texture, size, shape and temperature of a small stone. Our students have become accustomed to practicing different ways of focusing their mind. We also use our breath intentionally, either by bringing awareness to it as an anchor to the present moment or by breathing deeply as a powerful calming tool. Other weeks we explore emotions, both how we experience them in our minds and bodies as well as how we can notice them in others. Mindfulness has become a common and effective way for schools to help kids grow their social and emotional intelligence.
The benefits of mindfulness include:
Body and emotionalself-regulation
Stress reduction – finding greater integration and ability to cope withoverwhelmingfeelings of stress
Attunement with others & Empathy –feeling what another person feels moves us closer to compassion
Better impulse control- the development of flexibility to choose how to respond rather than react automatically
Fear modulation –Our ability to calm and sooth, and even unlearn, our own fears
Increased attention span and focus-a practice of paying attention can build our attention musclesin thebrain
Here are some suggestions for weaving mindfulness into your children’s daily lives at home to reinforce their growing practiceand to find meaningful moments of intentional connection during a busy season:
Establish a gratitude practice- Create a family ritual perhaps at dinner or bed time where family members express what they are grateful for.
Make your walks mindful- Go on a “noticing walk” or a “five sense tour,” strolling through the neighborhood and noticing things you haven’t before. Designate one minute of the walk for complete silence and simply pay attention to all the sounds you can here.
Practice with a breathing buddy- For young children, an instruction to simply “pay attention to the breath” can be hard to follow. Lying on their backs, children can place a stuffed animal on their belly, and focus their attention on the rise and fall of the stuffed animal as they breathe in an out. Ask your children about finger breathing, figure 8/infinity breathing, butterfly breathing and other breath exercises they have learned.
Check your personal weather report- Have everyone in the family describe their feelings using a weather report, “sunny, stormy, rainy, etc.” This allows children to take a step back and observe their present state instead of being only caught up within it.
For more information on how mindfulness can help kids and families be their best selves, including research studies, children’s books and local resources contact Sarah Greenstein at firstname.lastname@example.org
Parent-teacher conferences are being held Monday and Tuesday and we look forward to seeing you. There is nothing like parent-teacher conferences to remind us that we are truly your partners. We all share a common goal: To make this a successful school year for your child! Here are some tips to make the most of […]
It’s not enough to provide rigorous academics that challenge students intellectually. Jobs and wage growth opportunities open up for those who have the social skills needed in order to work well with others. That’s why we work with great intention to help our students become excellent collaborative problem-solvers. According to Andreas Schleicher who oversees the […]
Making bracelets and selling baked goods sounds like a modest way of repairing the entire world – even if all the proceeds go to rebuild homes and lives devastated by disasters in Puerto Rico and Mexico City. But the genius behind Judaism’s concept of Tikkun Olam – Repairing the World – lies in its modesty. […]
To begin our guidance lessons each week, students are welcomed to a Mindful Moment practice. They are invited to find a comfortable position that is alert and intentional, to close their eyes, and to focus one of their five senses as an anchor to paying attention on purpose, without judgment, to the present moment. We […]
In the early 1990’s, approximately 700 American nuns agreed to allow researchers access to their autobiographies as part of a research program on aging and Alzheimer’s disease. The published results were astounding. The more positive emotions the nuns expressed in their autobiographical notes -contentment, gratitude, happiness, love and hope – the more likely they were […]