Mindfulness is a term which is being used rampantly now and why not. The pandemic has wrecked havoc not only on the physical health of people but it has jeopardized the mental health also. It is not right to blame the pandemic alone for this. Nuclear families,busy schedule of parents,un healthy eating habits all these have added on to the deterioration in mental health.So ,this calls for measures to promote mental health. One word that has picked up momentum lately is MINDFULNESS.
According to Wikipedia, Mindfulness is the practice of purposefully bringing one’s attention in the present moment without evaluation, a skill one develops through meditation or other training. Mindfulness also involves acceptance which means that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them. Yoga is one of the techniques which will help us to practice mindfulness. Does all this sound a bit too irrelevant for preschoolers. This is where we are faltering. The long absence from school, lack of social interaction ,lack of competitivess all this has had a very drastic effect on the mental health of children. To overcome all this,we surely will have to take a few extra measures
like making yoga a part of child’s routine.
Children by nature lead a very care free life. But joining back school after a long break, moving out of their comfort zone(home) after a long gap….all this can be a bit over whelming for children. This can create anxiety in them .Mindfulness can be a great tool to overcome this anxiety.
How can children practice mindfulness?
*Make the child to spend a few minutes in the morning sitting calmly just focusing on the breath.
Don’t try to ensure that they do it properly.
By making child to focus on breath, we are trying to build the concentration power in the child .It also helps the child to be aware about himself .Doing it daily will help to plant the idea of self awareness in the mind of the child.
*Teach the child a few specific Yoga poses which will help the child to nurture balance.
Balance includes both physical balance and emotional balance. Example of one such pose is Tree pose which means standing on one leg. To do a balancing pose child will have to concentrate on his whole body. Once he loses his concentration the balance will be lost. There are many such poses like mountain pose, serpent pose etc which will promote balance.
Builds up Concentration in children.It also creates an awareness about balancing emotions in children.
*Make the child to accept self and others the way they are.
When a child is doing yoga, it will take some time for the child to master a particular pose .Also each child may not be doing it exactly the same way the other child is doing. Some children may not be able to do a particular pose altogether while the same child may be able to do another pose better than others.
This will promote awareness about themselves and also help the child to accept his strengths and weaknesses. It will also promote an awareness amongst the children that all are not similar. Each of them is different and unique.
*Discuss about emotions with children.
A daily routine of discussing what he felt in school or at play or at home will go a long way in promoting mindfulness .While discussing try to normalize sadness, anger and other negative emotions.
It will make the child aware that like happiness, love etc strong emotions like sadness, anger etc are also very normal. In fact children must experience a variety of emotions to grow up to be well rounded individuals.
Visualisation of stories is one of the best way to build up imagination in children. For example when we are narrating a story about wild animals ask child to close his eyes and imagine as if he or she is in a jungle. Tell them to narrate what they are imagining.
This will give a rich sensory experience to the child .It will promote imagination skills in the child which will ultimately benefit him to innovate and manage his emotions well.
The preschool stage represents a critical period for the development of foundational social emotional and self regulatory abilities. Self regulation refers to the internal mechanism that allows a child to manage their thoughts, behaviours and emotions. Children with stronger self regulation skills are better able to manage stress and socialize with peers and
teachers. Early self regulation is also linked with important long term outcomes in adolescence and adulthood.
Yoga for Humanity is the theme for this year’s International Yoga Day. Lets understand the full essence of this theme and play our role in raising mindful children and ultimately
contribute in the betterment of humanity.