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Mindfulness for Kids

Why do kids need mindfulness?

There is something I read about while surfing on the web. I am going to report it below as it is. The sentence aims to answer the following question:

How do you explain mindfulness to a five year-old?

Dr. Amy Saltzman says:

“We begin by paying attention to breath. The feeling of the expansion of the in-breath, the stillness between the in-breath and the out-breath. I invite them to rest in the space between the breaths. Then I explain that this still quiet place is always with us—when we’re sad, when we’re angry, excited, happy, frustrated. They can feel it in their bodies. And it becomes a felt experience of awareness. They can learn to observe their thoughts and feelings, and the biggest thing for me is they can begin to choose their behaviors.”

I felt like something opening my eyes. We live in a society where also ours kids suffer from anxiety, stress of course fear and many others.
Mindfulness is a meditation practice developed many years ago by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He discovered the amazing consequences of a special therapy named MBSR – Mindfulness based stress reduction that has become extremely popular lately. This practice is to drive attention to the present moment without any judgment. This would bring to observe the thoughts before getting emotionally involved. It helps increasing concentration, reducing self-judgment and anxiety as well as stress reduction.

Over the last few years the practice begun to be applied also in favor of children. This is starting point of a new branch of the practice where especially school teachers decided to develop knowledge and skills.

It may sound complex and almost impossible to achieve. However, surfing on the web I discovered many projects and programs on going and already well settled.

I found very interesting the approach applied by Annaka Harris who designed classed for children between 6-10 years old. A detailed description can be found surfing Annaka’s website. She proposes the following exercises:

  • Mindful hearing
  • Mindful Breathing
  • Mindful seeing
  • Friendly Wishes

Like Annaka Harris, there are many others proposing such classes. Since I have personally completed the MBSR training, I cannot do anything different from considering this an extremely powerful tool to give a better chance to our new generations and increasing their possibility of building up an amazing society in the near future.

Simone Santarelli

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