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What is Mindfulness?

Updated: Mar 17, 2020

When we meet people for the first time and we explain that Mindful Little Things provides Recreational Skill Building Workshops for children; focusing on Yoga Movement and Creative Art Expression using Play Based Learning and Mindfulness based practices, the first questions that typically follows is one that revolves around meditation.

How do you get children to meditate? How can they sit still for that long? Isn’t that hard?!

'Mindfulness means living in the present moment!'

When people hear the word Meditation some imagine sitting cross-legged on a meditation cushion with eyes closed and then think, how the heck are you going to get a child to do that?!

Though children can meditate, and it is possible for some to sit in stillness and experience meditation in the traditional sense, it is a practice that develops over time. It is a skill that takes patience and repetition to incorporate into your life. Though all humans, including children can practice traditional meditation it is different from Mindfulness.

At Mindful Little Things, we focus on Mindfulness as the root of our education.

Mindfulness means being present in the moment. It is living each experience and trying not to worry, or think about what the next experience, or task is going to be.

Children are naturally incredibly mindful.

We, as educators of children, want to support that natural ability by providing experiences and skills that will support children throughout their lives. We aim to support each child’s educational journey by teaching them basic mindfulness practices, which really just means teaching them to live in the present moment. For us it also means educating children on self-love, kindness and gratitude, being mindful of every person, experience and gift that life has to offer.

As parents (also educators of children), these mindful skills can be developed and encouraged within your own home. Watch your child when they are doing an activity, watch how they focus their full attention on what they are doing. Have you ever seen a child colouring a picture? They mindfully choose which colour they are going to use next, they take their time to stay in the lines (which can be very challenging) and they may not even hear when you call their name. This is mindfulness. They are in that moment and that moment only. The only thing that they are doing right now is colouring.

How wonderful!

As a parent, providing time to play and experience will help their mindful development. Don’t rush the colouring activity but instead encourage it to continue. For example, if they are drawing their own picture and they have drawn a person floating in the middle of the page you can ask prompting questions: Where is your person? Can you draw where they are? Encourage them to fill in the background with clouds or trees, maybe they are camping or exploring nature. By asking and encouraging such questions you are supporting their mindfulness journey, and your own! You are connecting with your child. You are showing them that they are important and that you are interested in what they are doing. This activity can open up conversations about the last time you went camping or about your upcoming camping trip. In this one colouring activity you have created a meaningful connection, provided life skills and so much more!

Practicing Mindfulness does not have to be done in a studio, or by professionals, though we do have amazing workshops that support children on their educational path.

All we need to remember is Mindfulness can be practiced and experienced by everyone, anywhere and anytime we want. Being mindful requires you to focus your attention, acknowledging and appreciating the experience right now!

*For more mindful tips check out our parent resource page!

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