Let's Breathe Together...

Family Mindfulness Classes

 

 

 

We've all seen our little ones struggle with feelings that seemed way too big for their bodies. Emotions run high and sometimes take over, leading to tantrums that are draining to everyone involved. But big people often forget one very important fact: they need our help! Children are not physiologically able to regulate their own emotion; from a purely developmental perspective, they need a calm, centered adult to help them when their emotions get too big. This is where mindfulness comes in...for everyone.

 

I've developed a curriculum that sets the stage for children to learn techniques or "tools" that are calming...and as parents and children learn these together, the parents are learning at the same time how to access both their own toolbox and lead their child back to a calm and centered state. As I often say, if parents do nothing more than simply model how to breathe, they find themselves calmer in the moment and better equipped to help their little one.

 

In addition, by learning these basic tools now, parents are setting the stage for a regular meditation practice later on. By facilitating those moments of calm clarity (however brief!), we begin to teach our children to center themselves, their bodies, and their minds.  And over time, those fleeting moments can build to longer periods, leading to a mindful, meditative practice for which research has shown many benefits, including:

 

  • Improved test scores

  • Decrease in suspension and drop-outs

  • Impulse control

  • Increases attention

  • Kindness

  • Lowered cortisol levels

 

 

 

 

There are two 6-week courses, Series 1 (ages 3-8) and Series 2 (ages 5-8). (Please note these do not have to be taken in this order, although it is recommended.)  Parents and children explore what meditation means, how emotions are expressed somatically, how to express compassion, and how to use various tools to self-regulate, calming their bodies and minds. Internal and external tools for their "toolbox" will be created within the class.

I'm excited to be offering these classes in the community again!

Mondays

Sept. 11- Oct. 16

5:30 (Series 1) & 6:30 (Series 2)

Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto

Room 8

 

*Please note that these skills are not specific to any one faith or belief system.  Some of the books in the series mention Buddhism specifically, but there is no emphasis on any one religion.  My classes are open to everyone, and all beliefs (or non-beliefs) will be respected and honored.

 

 

 

 

 

More information on the benefits of meditation for children:

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/teaching-kids--and-parents--the-art-of-mindfulness/2015/10/06/d0519c6a-65fd-11e5-9223-70cb36460919_story.html

 

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/empowered-health/Neuroscientist+touts+benefits+meditation+kids/6158952/story.html

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23724462

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/01/should-schools-teach-kids-to-meditate/283229/

 

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/08/05/harvard-study-reveals-what-meditation-literally-does-to-gastrointestinal-bowel-disorders/

 

Suggested Reading for Parents & Children

 

Peaceful Piggy Meditation  by Kerry Maclean

Moody Cow Meditates  by Kerry Maclean

Angry Octopus  by Lori Lite

Each Breath a Smile  Thich Nhat Hanh, Sister Susan & Thuc Nghiem

Breathe, Chill  by Lisa Roberts, RYT, RCYT

Planting Seeds by Thich Nhat Hanh