My personal journey with wellness began in a First Grade classroom. As the lead teacher, I had 20 little people under my wing and together we were lucky enough to explore Yoga and Mindfulness in our classroom. We experimented with different breathing techniques every day, we practiced all sorts of Mindful moments, and we engaged in games and activities that focused on building awareness and confidence in kids. The best compliment I ever got was when a fifth grader passed me in the hall and said, “Hey, you are the Mindful moment lady!” I knew right then where my path was headed.
I eventually made the decision to leave the classroom and pursue health and wellness coaching full time. I have spent the past several years carving out a Mindfulness coaching niche with clients ranging from four and five years old all the way up to corporate executives, to include individuals, groups, families, and schools as well. This past fall I was speaking to a group at Home Depot and was asked the question, “Is it hard to work with kids and corporate executives?” I was quick to answer that while there are many challenges with the work I do, the wide age range is not one of them.
Here’s the thing; kids are innately Mindful. They are highly tuned in to their five senses, which many agree is the most effective and efficient way to anchor yourself in the present moment. Kids don’t have the never ending distractions that most adults have (decisions to make, bills to pay, technology and devices to name a few!) so in a way Mindfulness is easier for children to practice. And when we can teach them to be intentional with the skills they are already learning, we see the power of this practice.
What happens as the kids get older? Schedules get busier, school gets increasingly challenging, and distractions start to creep in. Before we know it, the kids, just like us, start to experience what it's like to be pulled in several directions. They move from a place of singular focus to a place of trying to juggle several things before their brains are developed enough to do so. This is the antithesis of Mindfulness and does not serve our kids well in the long run.
Developing skills of awareness and focus, and teaching our children how to manage big emotions with confidence and empathy are lifelong skills. This might be the most valuable set of skills they learn as adolescents and are of paramount importance for their adult lives. And there is no better time than the present moment to start. Let’s work together and support children in developing a strong foundation for growth.
*For information about Growing Grounded’s offerings for children please visit www.growinggrounded.org