Creating a space to teach mindfulness to kids with autism
We were asked a question about the types of tools people could use if they wanted to teach their kids (who are on the autistic spectrum) how to feel calmer and less stressed using mindful activities.
” I will be moving into a purpose built unit for children with autism shortly and I have to kit out the sensory room. I’m wondering if you can suggest anything in particular that would be beneficial.”
We write about this subject all the time…particularly in the 2nd book – “Connected Kids‘.
However we have taught thousands of people how to teach kids meditation, and thought that many of our Connected Kids Tutors would have great, practical advice.
We were right!
Here are some wonderful ideas that may help your kids on the spectrum bring their energy back into balance with meditation and mindfulness.
How mindfulness helps you ‘see’ your kids and teens
I was inspired to write this after reading a blog from NY psychotherapist, Katherine Schafler, about the 4 unconscious questions a person asks themselves. The one that connected with me the most was about ‘being seen’.
As a child I grew up in a culture where ‘children should be seen and not heard’. This attitude may have been exclusive to the Victorian/Scottish parenting style at the time, but as an adult, it has left me with lots of thoughts and feelings to work through and process – sometimes with the help of a therapist or my meditation practice.
I am also a foster carer and one of the key things I’ve learned is that ‘being seen’ is essential in order to have a connection with the children we care for.
I believe that my mindfulness skills, my personal meditation practice and my ability to introduce a ‘teaching meditation’ to the kids we care for in a way that meets their needs and abilities (and interests) has helped us start to build a an emotional and mental bridge between the world and kids in our care so that they can connect to the world around them in a more kind, loving and caring way.
Mindfulness and the holidays
The summer holidays can be a long time to spend with your kids.
You love them but your whole routine can change and even though holidays are meant to be enjoyable, they can be a little bit stressful too!
So here are some tips and ideas to help you keep up your meditation practice and help your kids practise mindfulness during the summer break.
(Photo courtesy of Jennifer Furtney Miller – “Here is my 5 year old son meditating in the pool. Trying to compose himself during a conflict with his 7 year old sister. We love this photo. He often joins us at 6am to meditate too. Namaste.”) Continue reading
One of my friends is an experienced mindfulness teacher.
She sent me her weekly newsletter and within that there is mention of Dr Rick Hanson – the psychologist – with a link to one of his excellent presentations.
It was so good I thought I would include it in my regular blog (see below).
But it got me thinking.
Dr Hanson talks about the importance of him learning meditation skills, especially to help him recover from the difficult times he had growing up – you know the regular growing pains most of us go through and the feeling of not fitting in or being quite good enough.
He talks about how mindfulness has helped fill the ‘hole in his heart’ that these experiences created. Continue reading
Is your compassion tank feeling a bit depleted?
If you really want to teach kids (yours or others) how to practise meditation but your self-compassion tank is a bit empty, then it’s time to refuel!
Enjoy our blog on 4 simple self-compassion tips on how to do this!
Training Courses in Teaching Meditation >>>
Online connected kids >>>
Calm Kids >>>
Connected Kids (autism and special needs) >>>
Emotional vs Academic Intelligence
The other week we caught the end of the TV show ‘Child Genius’ – where children with (usually) a high score on Mensa take part in a quiz to become the Child Genius for that year.
These kids demonstrate an amazing array of skills – from their ability to remember facts to computing arithmetic sums at lightening speed. It was impressive.
What was not so impressive was watching the stress these children experienced. The emotions they were feeling were bubbling under the surface (some cried) and yet the parents seemed to focus on scores and winning. Continue reading
Negativity Bias and Mindfulness
I was giving a talk recently (I do a few of these online talks
to help inform, educate and give you the confidence to start teaching kids/teens meditation) and I came across a term ‘negativity bias
It means that our brain and body constantly scan the environment for threats. If we detect a threat, we manage it as it activates our stress response (fight/flight/freeze) – which is designed to keep us alive.
What it means is that we are hardwired (neurologically speaking) to seek out the negative in our life experiences more easily than the positive ones.
As Rick Hanson, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist and author of “Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom” argues that our brains are like Velcro for negative experiences, and Teflon for positive ones.
I found this fascinating.
Are Kids in Canada Coping with Stress?
I’m writing this post with a focus on Canada. Why? Because I’ll be going there to teach in September and I wanted to find out more about how Canadian Kids could benefit from meditation.
What I find fascinating is that many of the issues facing young people in Canada are similar worldwide.
With 1 in 5 Canadian kids diagnosed with a mental health issues and research demonstrating that meditation can help, the time is now to equip young people with these life-saving skills.
Issues include a lack of self esteem, inability to self regulate behaviour, poor body image, bullying, high stress levels and an inability to cope. Continue reading
In society we want things easy.
Maybe it’s a combination of technology, lifestyle and the way our brains are developing. Reading the book ‘Mind Change‘ has been fascinating as I learn I am a ‘digital immigrant’. That means I have been introduced to blogs, emails and the tech stuff later in my lifetime.
According to the author, Baronness Susan Greenfield kids are ‘digital natives’ – in other words their brains are introduced to it from the day they are born and it is shaping how their brains develop.
I wasn’t sure what to write about in my recent blog.
I get a bit tired of emails or blogs all sounding the same and a bit ‘salesy’.
But that’s not me.
So I decided to let you know why I feel responsible for your child’s happiness.
Every time I read about the stress young people and children experience or the difficult circumstances they encounter with no skills to process it, it makes me think of me.
I think about my life as a young child, with a single mum who did her best to clothe and feed me but who didn’t always have the time to play. I know that had my mum known how to create bedtime meditation stories to help me sleep she would have helped me (and her) cope with some very anxious times.