During the first lockdown we discussed the benefits of practicing mindfulness with children to reduce stress and worry with Wave mindful. Our Q&A introducing the mums behind Wave can be read HERE. We’ve just caught up with them again to find out what’s new in lockdown 2 and revisit some of their thoughts on mindfulness.
Please introduce Wave…
We are Wave, teaching mindfulness to children ages 2.5 years to 16 years. Currently our classes are via Zoom until lockdown eases and we hope to be back teaching in person. We have recently added a SHOP section to our website where you can download some useful breathwork and meditation tools to help your child. We have found that clients are loving these to play to their child as and when suits them. We have tailored them to suit our clients most requested needs to support their children. These include anxiety, confidence, sleep, resilience, anger and focus. In addition to that we have a specific night time ritual which includes a body scan and night time meditation. We are in the process of filming our six part introductory course and including it to purchase from the SHOP section of our website.
What is mindfulness and why is it important physically and mentally?
Mindfulness is now becoming more and more acceptable with most people knowing or having heard the term before. Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment with curiosity and kindness. The magic superpower which drives mindfulness is our breath, it’s always there for us whenever we need it to support and ground us.
Any particular reason it’s important for children?
Children are like sponges at such a young age and we believe the younger they start practising the more mindfulness becomes a way of being and living. We aim to make meditation and breathwork part of their usual routines, just like brushing their hair or teeth.
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What age can kids start practicing mindfulness?
Our classes start at age 2 1/2 years old, these classes are more sensory based and really focussed on teaching the children to connect with their superpower, the breath. We use various props, games, movement and colouring to teach them about feelings, thoughts and the connection between our bodies and minds. As the children get older, heading into their teens there is more meditation, breathwork, discussions and science around the brain. We investigate how we can change our mindset and reframe our outlook on life.
How frequently should they do it, to feel a benefit?
Like most things the more we practise the easier and more benefits we will see. This is definitely the case with mindfulness and meditation. At first sitting and listening to your breath can seem daunting and maybe even boring but the more your practise the more you need that space of calm to connect to your body and feel ready for the day.
The practise of a daily gratitude discussion at dinner time with your family, three belly breaths before you start the day or a body scan at night before bed are really beneficial. It should be enjoyable and you should start to see the change in your children and you as parents rapidly.
How can mindfulness help during all the uncertainty of the pandemic?
We have five children between us varying from 2 to 9 years old and have noticed all of them feeling the anxiety of what is going on around us. Us as adults are finding these times hard so there is no doubt they are feeling it even if it’s mirroring us. We feel it’s good to check in and try and be as honest and open as we can with them, offering up the space for a conversation about the virus. My youngest is blaming anything that goes wrong on the virus showing how even a 2yr old has picked up on the negative thoughts around it. In times of feeling anxious our breath is our saviour, the long slow deep belly breaths we teach then will help calm and ground them.
Can you please talk us through a few exercises/activities we can do at home with kids to help them (and us!) centre ourselves and reduce stress….
A morning ritual can be tricky with getting everyone ready for school or nursery so we find a bedtime ritual where you can include all siblings is easier to fit into our very time poor lives! A body scan after a bedtime story or a quick meditation or breathwork can be a brilliant way to release any stress or worries from the day and help aid a restful nights sleep. Check out the SHOP section on our website where we have a selection of breathwork and meditation tools you can download.
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