Mindfulness helps children develop awareness of inner and outer experiences and helps them understand the connection between their emotions and the sensations in their bodies.
There is neural evidence that shows why mindfulness seems to produce benefits such as focus, calm, listening, patience, happiness, and emotional regulation.
“Mindfulness is about being fully aware of your feelings but not getting hijacked by them.” Dr. Laura Markham
In Mission:CONTROL!, Joseph has some tools on his gauntlet that he can access to help him have smaller reactions to small problems. His dog, Gretchen, realized when she heard that Joseph’s head “felt funny”, that it was time to help him be in the present. Because he was “wrapped up” in his big feelings, he only had 2 options: count to 10 or breathe. Breathing did help his brain calm enough for him to recognize he needed Gretchen’s help.
Parents can help children access similar tools at home and can help them learn to recognize the connection between their body sensations and their emotions.
For example, if a child is feeling overwhelmed by big feelings, parents can help the child slow down to notice what’s going on and to be in the moment, using breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices. A child is, at that point, more ready to start shifting to the thinking part of the brain.
Steps to take
Small step: Try out a mindfulness activity and notice over the week how you felt as a result of being mindful. https://www.understood.org/en/family/taking-care-of-yourself/dealing-with-emotions/3-mindfulness-techniques-to-help-reduce-parenting-stress?_ul=1*ahnq99*domain_userid*YW1wLVk2NnB3emQycVpxRHd0bVBrUGdHQXc.
Advanced step: Choose an app or read a book on mindfulness and look for ways to schedule time in your child’s day to engage in mindfulness.