with Michelle Faber, Founder of Little Yogis
We're big believers in the practice of mindfulness and meditation (at any age)!
Meet Michelle Faber, Kind Human Club member and Founder of Little Yogis; a yoga extracurricular program for schools and daycare centers across Ontario (and virtually). We asked her to share a few of her top tips for incorporating the practice of mindfulness into your family’s regular routine.
We all have the power to choose our own thoughts, though it seems our inner critic always likes to creep in here and there leading to a negative cycle of thinking. As adults we tend to get into this cycle frequently especially if we are sensitive. But what if we learned to combat this at a young age so that we grow to become resilient, healthy minded adults?
I wish I had learned these tools as a child. Growing up I got trapped in the cycle of negative thinking which led to severe depression. So how to get back to a state of positive self reflection?
Mindfulness Meditation is a powerful tool to help us get out of the negative cycle of thinking. When we learn to be mindful, we learn to choose our thoughts. We are better able to consciously steer away from our critical inner voice. There are many ways to teach our children to be mindful.
Here are my recommendations for both the classroom and at home.
Our thoughts become things. This means we have to be very careful with our words, choosing to speak only those which work towards our benefit and cultivate our highest good. Affirmations help purify our thoughts and restructure the dynamic of our brains so that we truly begin to love ourselves and get out of the cycle of negativity or worry.
Tips on using affirmation cards (from Joyful Hearts co.):
1. Let your child pick a card each day.
2. Read it out loud!
3. Discuss the affirmations with your child using examples.
4. Make it fun!
5. Repeat it. Believe it.
Meditation for Kids:
We want children to be healthy and happy, not just now but for the rest of their lives. And teaching them about meditation early would help them do just that. I know it seems impossible to get your child to sit for even a few minutes but there are fun activities, books and apps to help them get started.
Here are my favourites:
Meditation for Kids by Tejal V. Patel - Tejal's book outlines fun and easy at home meditation activities you can do with your child.
Headspace App for Kids - Available to all subscribers of Headspace, kids (and their parents) can enjoy fun, engaging activities that teach them the basics of mindfulness. They’ll practice breathing exercises, visualizations and even try some focus-based meditation. Of course, different exercises work best for different ages so we’ve customized the sessions for three age groups: 5 and under, 6-8 and 9-12.
"It’s almost as though meditation was designed for kids. They just ‘get it’ – there is this elasticity and freedom in their minds which allows them to be present in the moment and free from any external thoughts or pressures. By introducing meditation and mindfulness at an early age, not only can we build on this and help nurture their mind development, but we are also making meditation simple and accessible." - Andy Puddicombe, Co-Founder of Headspeace
Give Positive Praise:
I hate to say it but kids believe and internalize what we tell them. If we are constantly yelling at them, telling them they are a "bad boy or girl," they don't get angry at you they get angry at themselves. They start to believe that they are "bad" and will start to act out more. It is a vicious cycle that I have learned the hard way.
If your child is having a particularly bad day and there is a lot of discipline happening, always make sure to add positive praise throughout the day as well. The more positivity you provide the better the situation will be. You will notice your child start to WANT to behave and will want to impress you because praise is wonderful!
Their internal dialogue will change from negative to positive because of your help.
Yoga has always been a source of positivity in my life. When I practice, my mind shifts from the negative to the positive. Why?
1. I am doing something great for my body
2. I am thinking about the asanas (poses) and not thinking about things that may bother me.
3. Yoga helps clear our minds, which is literally the definition of being mindful! I feel so much less anxious and stressed once I'm done my practice.
Here are some of our favourite YouTube videos to do with your child at home:
I hope this helps on your mindfulness journey!