Research on mindfulness meditation and the “developing brain” (i.e.: kids!) is hugely compelling… and it’s starting to gain momentum on the heels of wider spread, global school initiatives…
This much we know: Taking deep breaths relieves stress in your body; compassion relieves stress in relationships. Understanding that both are psychophysiological phenomena can impact how we parent and how we teach the next generation to function better in the world. Also, we need to realize that not every child is born with the same compassion ‘set-point’, so helping kids build and enhance what they start with is essential for healthy communities in the future.
There are, of course, many ways to introduce kids to Mindfulness meditation. We’ve discovered this deck of 55 innovative mindfulness games for kids, brought to you by Susan Kaiser Greenland (author of Mindful Games and The Mindful Child) and Annaka Harris (author of CONSCIOUS: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind and the children's book I Wonder).
Ever wondered what it takes to create one of Kidevolve’s fantastically engaging Creative Mind Journeys? 10 year old Connor Chase interviews our lead creator Jeff Warren about his creative process, his favourite CMJ characters, why he thinks learning mindfulness is super helpful for kids of all ages, and generally, what makes him tick. Jeff gives Connor a run for his money and does not let him dominate the interview - some tall order! - skillfully flipping the energy around so that Connor must also share what makes learning mindfulness in Kidevolve’s unique format so special to him. Connor obliges while also managing to keep free-spirited Jeff right on schedule. What results in an enjoyable exchange between two perceptive, nimble friends: the interviewee - a grownup who has never lost touch with his awesome inner kid, and the interviewer - a kid who has always operated as an inner grownup.
Mr. Roger's believed that "the greatest thing we can do is to help somebody know that they're loved and capable of loving." He set out to do this each day on set with his groundbreaking children's show Mister Rogers' Neighbourhood (1968 to 2001). He believed "children have very deep feelings, just the way everybody does" and he nourished and protected these feelings by modelling compassion and kindness, and talking to kids straight-up about topics that most adults would not have known how to position (war, divorce, tragedy).
Here is part 2 from the New York Times excellent series on mindfulness for children... the big takeaway? Mindfulness training can be applied at every age to foster resiliance. Don’t make mindfulness seem like something only to be used in times of trouble — present it across a child's development as a tool to be used in a variety of situations.