Mindfulness is a topic that has peaked my interest after hearing several well respected doctors do presentation calling on practitioners to realize the power of meditation as a tool in treating disease. These presentations ranged from Brain Health to Diabetes, and built a strong connection in it’s ability to reduct stress, reduce inflammation, and improve or reverse the disease markers in patients.
I am also following along as the research unfolds around the positive impacts mindfulness can have as a tool for children with ADHD. As I continue my master’s in Functional Medicine and Human Nutrition, meditation and mindfulness is something that continuously appears in my textbooks and readings. It is clear the world of science and medicine is paying attention. Regardless of the other tools children are using, it is becoming abundantly clear that mindfulness and meditation are skills worth cultivating in our young children. Neuroscience also suggests that meditation can have the greatest impact during the early stages of development, childhood.
How do we define mindfulness?
Jon Kabat-Zinn defines it has “moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.” This definition surely parallels many of our goals as parents.
Our oldest is a great kid, but among her great qualities is the fact that her brain and body sometimes have a hard time slowing down. This quality serves her well, but in our home environment can be challenging for her at times.
In October of last year, her transitional kindergarten class started incorporating a mindfulness practice into their weekly routine with a teacher (also a father in our school) with extensive training as a mindfulness teacher for kids.
Beyond her weekly classroom time, we decided to pursue mindfulness in a group setting outside of school and went on to give our oldest additional support in private sessions. In these session they continued to learn age appropriate meditations that can serve them in many ways. These skills have been invaluable at helping our daughter quiet her mind and notice what is happening inside her body.
A children’s book that helps build a mindfulness practice.
When we came across this children’s book, Making Mindful Magic by Lea McKnoulty, we knew this was a wonderful book that could help us continue to deepen this practice as a family. What we love about this book is that it provides simple practices for children of all ages to incorporate into their routine. It helps us as parents bring to life what our daughter has learned and gives us a guide to strengthen her practice. While exploring this book, you might also realize some of your child’s favorite practices are mindfulness exercises and this book can help you learn to call on these practices to support your child.
In this modern world there are so many distractions for children, and this beautifully illustrated book by an early childhood educator is a wonderful tool for so many children.
Our mindfulness teacher reminds us that a mindfulness practice can improve our children’s emotional regulation, provide a calming tool for kids, help children identify their patterns, build compassion in kids as they come to understand themselves, and develop resilience to their life experiences. We are witnessing the benefits and hope this book helps bring this to life for other families.