Mindfulness for børn

 

En dejlig artikel, jeg har fået lov at poste af min gode ven, Mickey Beyer Clausen, som har Mental Workout.com. De udvikler en masse forskellige app’s indenfor psykologi og mental sundhed. Og en af deres ‘eksperter’ er Stephen Bodian, som er en meget spændende herre. Læs nedenfor…

 

Mindfulness for kids

By Stephan Bodian

 

Editor’s note: Stephan Bodian is a world-renowned meditation teacher and licensed psychotherapist, specializing in stress management. He is the author of the Mental Workout programs, Mindfulness Meditation and Freedom from Stress, available inside the Mental Workout app and on www.mentalworkout.com. He has also authored several books, including Meditation For Dummies and Wake Up Now: A Guide to the Journey of Spiritual Awakening, in addition to being the former editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal.

One thing about mindfulness meditation that few writers have noted is that it’s contagious–once you’ve been practicing for a while and started to notice how much more relaxed and focused you feel and how much more enjoyment you get out of life, you’re likely to want to share the benefits with others. And who comes to mind first if not family members–your partner, kids, parents, brothers and sisters and cousins and close friends. You see them suffering through stress or boredom or depression or anxiety or attention deficit, as you yourself once did, and you want to shake them and say, just sit down and follow your breath! .

Because we’re so close to them and their well-being is at least as important to us as our own, we may feel especially motivated to influence our children. Needless to say, shaking is counterproductive; instead, the most effective approach is to set a shining example ourselves. If you’re interested in introducing your kids to mindfulness, the best thing you can do is practice mindfulness yourself. When they notice that you’re now calmer, less reactive, and more enjoyable to be with, your kids will be curious and want to discover your secret. Young children in particular naturally emulate their parents; if they see you sitting quietly, enjoying the moment, they’ll wonder what you’re doing and ask to join you. Even more meaningful, they’ll notice how attentive and available you are, how alertly and carefully you drive or wash the dishes, how thoughtfully you respond to stressful situations rather than react. Through your loving, nonjudgmental presence, you provide them with an ongoing role model, and they imbibe mindfulness by osmosis, much as they might learn a second language. 

In fact, children are naturally gifted with mindfulness. Just notice how a baby becomes enthralled by the sensory experience of touching a piece of fruit or a toy, or how a toddler explores a bug in the yard. Precisely because much of what they experience is actually new to them, they have an abundance of what’s called “beginner’s mind,” the ability to experience each moment freshly, as if for the first time. Beginner’s mind is a quality that adult meditators strive to cultivate but young children have in abundance. 

Rather than teaching your children something they don’t know, remember that you’re encouraging them to practice and cultivate a skill they already have but can easily lose in the push to live up to the expectations of others. Instead of formal meditation, especially with younger kids, you can invite them to join you in sitting quietly and listening to the birds or a piece of music, or walking in nature and exploring the plants and insects, or sweeping the floor or digging in the garden, with curious, mindful awareness. You might ask them to describe what they’re seeing or hearing as a way to get them to pay closer attention. But avoid the temptation to interpret or conceptualize—let their experience be concrete, direct, unmediated by the mind. Their attention span will be limited, of course, so don’t push them beyond what they feel comfortable doing. Over time, their ability to stay present will naturally grow.

If you’re really committed to fostering your young child’s natural mindfulness, you might also consider limiting their exposure to TV, movies, and other forms of digital entertainment. Right now children in the US between the ages of two and five watch an average of three hours of TV a day. Research indicates that such heavy viewing may shorten attention span, increase impulsivity and hyperactivity, and short-circuit the natural development of the brain. While young children are absorbed in digital images, they’re using precious time that could be spent in being present, curious, and open to the world around them and learning essential skills for leading a mindful, heartful, relational life.

 

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