Teaching mindfulness to children is the most difficult task
Want to initiate a mindfulness body scan for your kids, and they don’t really want to, or they can’t focus? Difficult, isn’t it? I faced this too.
Practicing mindfulness, you saw how it helped you cultivate joy and happiness. Feel calmer, relaxed, more grounded, you have only one wish: Transfer this practice to our children.
And you are right! Being mindful, our children can have better attention. They have more quality comprehension and emotional intelligence. Mindfulness can reduce their stress, aggressiveness, and anguish.
But probably like me, you’ll realize this: Teaching mindful presence is the most difficult task, among all things we want to teach them. We ignore this often because we want to quickly make them work. Sometimes, we are lost in the task to “supervise them”.
How to do it the best way?
Mindfulness body scan for kids – 3 easy tips to make it work out the best
Wonder why your latest “mindfulness body scan for kids” video or teaching you try to apply to your children didn’t really work? Below are 3 easy tips. Learn how to succeed in inspiring them of your passion.
#1. Do it yourself first – the best way to share your mindful practice with children
In order to share mindfulness practices with your children, the most effective way is to first of all practice it ourselves! Sounds evident, doesn’t it? But most of us do not realize how this can be important.
My child imitates me unconsciously
This was a real story. I was profoundly impressed by how my children observed and imitated my ways. Do you know, my 7-year-old daughter and I love role play. For example, she would open a restaurant and I’d be a customer. Yesterday, in a game with me, she proposed to be a teacher to give me a… yoga and meditation class! She surprised me when she guided me to relax: “Lie down, think about nothing… Don’t get lost in your worries… Be here and now…”. Incredible, isn’t it?
I never tried to teach my children mindfulness, meditation, or yoga. They caught up these things unconsciously, simply by observing my practice, and the way I react in my daily life.
Mindfulness body scan exercise is a piece of an iceberg
The above story shows that a mindfulness exercise for your children might be a piece of an iceberg. The hidden part is the whole energy and quality of your being behind it. I’m sure you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the practice. This way, you transfer to them not only the “how”, but the energy that they feel in you. Before sharing mindfulness practices with your children, it’s wonderful to see yourself mindful, present, and calm. You can surely offer them an environment shined by happiness, and water the qualities of your children.
Similarly, it is not enough either to read or to speak about mindfulness with your children, for it to work. We need to really practice it day in, day out. When mindfulness becomes our way of living, the air that we breathe, there is no difference between the practices of adults or children. The essence of practice is the same for everybody.
And you know what, our kids are very intuitive and intelligent, they’ll catch it on quickly. Do you believe so too?
#2. You can’t teach. You reveal.
In addition to your own mindful practice, the success of teaching mindfulness to your kids is linked to mindset.
Indeed, one of the reasons why a “mindfulness body scan for kids” might have not worked so far with your small ones, is this: You can’t teach them.
As Thich Nhat Hanh said, “You can’t transfer wisdom and profound vision to another person. The seed is already there”.
“You can’t transfer wisdom and profound vision to another person. The seed is already there. A good teacher comes into contact with this seed. He helps it move, germinate, and grow”. .(Thich Nhat Hanh)
Inspiring as it can be, mindfulness is not an extraordinary phenomenon. Each of us is capable of generating this mindful energy for ourselves: walking, eating, sitting, working… We need just to add our presence and attention to what we do.
And our children have these seeds in them too. So we can’t teach them. We only reveal and nurture these seeds. So that they become bigger and stronger. And one day, when we need them, mindful energy will be there, to help us.
Therefore, the day you truly feel this energy in you, a meditation body scan that you would like to bring to your kids will have a different energy. That’s why, when we want to teach mindfulness to our children, most experienced teachers will advise you not to tell them. Practice naturally with them “without a goal”. As said Brother Phap Dung from Plum Village, “What children benefit the most,[…] is the quality of our being”
It’s better to share who we are with children, without telling them our practices… What children benefit the most, is our ways to react, the quality of our being, our affection and our kindness”Brother Phap Dung, Plum Village
#3. A mindfulness body scan for kids is not to “repair” them
The third tip to start a successful mindful practice with your children is this: You cultivate yourself with your children, not to “repair” them. Let’s face it, sometimes we have this temptation! Start a video “mindfulness body scan for kids” the day you suddenly find them stressed and agitated? Both you and I know this already: This will just not work!
The best tip to keep in mind? We truly appreciate them, and share our mindful practices with them, for them to be “themselves“. Our children have a strong capacity to grow spiritually. Although immature physically, they are even more developed than us spiritually speaking. I shared this in the article “How my children teach me about happiness“.
We teach them to be mindful, in order to accept themselves. If they are bored, they can practice: “Breathe in, I know I’m bored. Breathe out, I have the right to be bored”. If they are agitated, they can do the same. We offer them a space to feel and accept their feelings and sensations, as they are.
Mindfulness with my kids – The start of a long journey
As a parent and practitioner, we want to transfer our mindful practices to our children. We know that our kids will have much less stress and anguish, and cultivate their joy and happiness. However, teaching mindful presence appears to be one of the most difficult tasks.
My 3 best tips would be to immerse yourself with the practices, reveal in them the mindful seeds by your positive energy, and let them be themselves. This way, I’m sure you’ll have the best success in any exercise, either it’s a mindfulness body scan for kids or other mindful activities with them. Don’t believe it? Try and see!