In Part 1 of this series, we covered how to teach children mindfulness with tools and techniques that were tried and tested from my interaction with kids in school, as well as, at home with my own children.
Children naturally and effortlessly teach us mindfulness
My life has changed so much since I had kids. They are my spiritual teachers even though I am the parent to them. We can learn a lot from being around kids. If you look around and pay attention to children or infants, you’ll notice that they are more involved in the silence or present moment than we are. They are completely engrossed in their act for that moment and play with mindfulness, all the while, being totally present. As we grow up, we slowly forget to use this gift of ours, among others. By the time we remember to use this gift, if we decide to use it, we struggle and must make quite an effort to bring it back.
Yes, it’s so instinctual to them, that children, do in fact teach us mindfulness, naturally. There is no effort by them, and the only effort is from the adults trying to focus on what we learn. Before we change them, let us learn the most valuable of lessons that they are here to teach us.
Now, pause and take few breaths, then read further to learn 10 ways kids can naturally and effortlessly teach adults mindfulness:
Taking notice of surroundings
Ask them the colour of the car that an aunt or uncle drives, including the color of the door handle. Kids are much quicker in responding than we would be. As an adult, you would have gone past that car many times but never being fully present to see it, notice, or acknowledge it. However, kids do notice what’s around them and hang onto those present moments.
At the playground, did you ever notice that when you mention it’s time to “wrap it up,” children ask for more time or “5 more minutes?” They are great at negotiating. And then when you promise “we can come back again tomorrow,” they never listen to that tomorrow, as for them, the point is “Now” – Present moments. There is no past or future for them. Isn’t it amazing how they are living their life in these present moments they have? If you do bring them back the next day, it’s a bonus. If not, it’s no bother if they won that 5 extra minutes. For them, every day is a new day just like a fresh sheet of paper. We make plans and organise etc. but they wake up and look forward to the day like a gift, and get the most out of it.
Mindfulness is about being non-judgmental. When you speak to them and share the experience of your day or a situation, (per age appropriate) all they do is listen and give you a warm hug. That hug melts away your problems. They didn’t judge or criticise. They accepted and heard what you shared.
Have you noticed that when a child is building with Lego blocks, how they are totally 100% into the task? They are not thinking of a break, water, or who is around. They are just focusing on one thing at a time while being in the moment and not multitasking. We can look back and learn from them how to concentrate on a single task at a time, which helps us give 100% of our attention to the task we are performing.
Active with 5 senses
Take notice of a child playing in a muddy puddle; so much lighter and fun when they create and just are. If we can observe that act, it shifts an inner child fun part within us. They are they totally present in the moment and may even try to taste the mud. And remember, they are never usually very stable, and it’s such a natural way for them to run, walk, and use their body with flexibility. Rather than judging on what they can and cannot do.
Children teach us how to forgive and forget too. You will notice that when they sleep, they sleep so peacefully with nothing on the heart. They often forget the facts or being upset the previous day. They let go of the past so quickly and move on.
With mindfulness, we learn on self-love and time for us, and with children, it’s a natural thing. When tired, you see them go into their comfort position on the couch or bed and relax. They don’t wait for permission or think about what others will think.
A Better Listener
By being a better listener, they can show empathy and kindness to the people around them. No matter who it is, they can sense what’s happening. They do hear more than we realize and can remind us to be listeners too. For example, the things they heard Grandma say will be remembered by them forever.
They are so good with their creative centre. They quickly get immersed in the activity at hand and get so much out of it, whether it be playing with water balloons or painting.
It’s pure bliss to be surrounded by them and difficult not to laugh at their silly jokes or things they do. They giggle and can make the whole house laugh over spilled milk, right? When they are mischievous rather than upset, they can make fun of the situation in a way. If we can take that into our adult life, we can learn to relax rather than be paranoid in certain circumstances. If we are unable to handle, we can’t, and won’t be ready to ask for help.
We as adults, always like to be the children. We couldn’t wait to grow up and then later realised it was better to be a child. We are learning so much from them, and the ideas above are only some of the lessons they can teach us if we take a moment to focus on them from time to time. Now, look around at your own kids, nieces and nephews, or cousins and see what they are teaching you before you teach them anything.
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. – Robert Brault
- In Part 3, I will share how to bond with your child through mindfulness while teaching them to understand that it’s a special moment.
- In Part 4, I’ll wrap things up by discussing how mindfulness tools are effective and can be used in our daily lives without further complicating it.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series next week!