Category Archives: resources

Can meditation help kids with depression?

 

This week, I read a disturbing news report about the increasing use of medication for children (aged 12 or younger) who are being prescribed anti-depressants.

It found that the number of youngsters aged 12 or younger on anti-depressants has risen by 27% over the last three years.” BBC News July 2018 

Then on social media someone shared an article with a similar message in the USA.

Rates of depression and anxiety among young people in America have been increasing steadily for the past 50 to 70 yearsToday, by at least some estimates, five to eight times as many high school and college students meet the criteria for diagnosis of major depression and/or anxiety disorder as was true half a century or more ago.” Dr. Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College

So there are 3 things that concern me most:

  • children are being diagnosed with depression
  • increasingly medication is being used so for such young (and developing children).
  • that there is a waiting list for access to psychological help for kids with mental health issues

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Toolkit for teaching mindful activities – kids on the autistic spectrum

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.”

Expert advice

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.

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Breathing in Breathing out Meditation for Kids

 

Some of you may remember that several years ago I attended an Educator’s retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh.

During the retreat we learned some mindfulness songs for kids –  this was one of my favourites.

Acknowledging the breath can be a difficult concept for kids to grasp.  This breathing meditation video for kids gives a great example of actions, words and song to engage their interest.

By helping kids of all ages to notice their breath they have a self-care skill that can help them move out of fight/flight/freeze and lower anxiety levels. 

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‘The Whole-Brain Child’ – book review

Book Review – ‘the Whole-Brain Child – Dr Dan Siegel’

Enjoy my review of this fabulous book about child development; how to help them process difficult feelings and thoughts.  Learn why I think it offers some practical tips on how to cope with difficult behaviours. Continue reading

Changing Education with Meditation and Mindfulness

I’m looking to change the education system in order that kids benefit from meditation – every day.

The very fact you are reading this blog suggests that you are interested in…

a/teaching your children meditationchanging education with meditation

b/teaching other people’s children meditation

… and you want this world to be a better place for children in the future when we are ‘not around’ any more.

The growing body of research suggests that there are valid and economic reasons for children and young people to meditate regularly.

Let  me explain.

Reducing the Mental Health Bill

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Why I care about your child’s happiness

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 teach children meditation and mindfulnessbit ‘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.

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Good intentions about teaching meditation to your kids

I had good intentions…

I wanted to write an post about perception and how we what we see and perceive is what we experience.  It’s how our brain works and how it helps us interpret life.

If our brain is wired differently then it can be challenging to respond to life in the way we want to (until we become aware of this – aka having a meditation practice makes you aware of this!)

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Useful resources for teaching kids meditation

So as you can imagine, I live and breathe anything to do with teaching kids meditation, children’s mental health and (teen’s) wellbeing. As a result, I collect a lot of information on this.

If you are on our Facebook page, Twitter or Calm Kids group on FB, then you’ll know that we have become a ‘library’ (so to speak) of useful articles and information, tips and ideas on these subjects).

So I felt it was high time to put many of them in one easy to find place.

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how to talk so children will listen

This post was prompted by an experience I had recently.   I was walking my dog Jess past our local nursery.  As we approached, there were 3 kids who came running around the corner of the building (aged about 3 years old) and as they saw us in their excited state, they picked up a handful of
gravel and threw it on the pavement in front of us (but not aiming at us!)

One of the nursery staff who saw this warned them “if you throw stones, you’ll hit the dog”.  The next minute they picked up another handful and did the same thing again.  You could see the disbelief on the adult’s face.

Yet as I walked past them (both me and my dog Jess unscathed) I realised that what she had meant to say was “don’t throw stones as you’ll hit and hurt the doggie”.  But she didn’t say that.  She had stated a fact, not an instruction or guidance. Even though she had used a tone that might warn them not to do it, the words were factual.  It made me ponder on the thought that when we communicate with kids, sometimes what we say and what we think we have said are really different.

Clear Communication

I read a wonderful book called ‘how to talk so children list and how to listen so children talk”.  When I read it I realised that it was helping adults to both talk and listen more clearly thus helping their children communicate too.  In fact when I read it I remember thinking “lots of relationships could really benefit from this – including mine!”

I’ve noticed that when we communicate with children who have autism, this is a lesson in being clear and specific –  really saying what we mean.  If you watch Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory – you’ll have a funny, yet strong example of how important it is to communicate clearly! I’ve often heard that children who are on the spectrum don’t understand irony or sarcasm.  However I believe that lots of children don’t understand this.  It’s an adult perspective and usually born of cynicism (why would we want to teach our children this anyway!)  It’s not helpful when we are trying to teach our children clear communication skills.

Communication – the influence of perception

Perception can also play a large part in our communication (and listening skills).  You may have noticed this already when you read certain emails and depending on how you feel, it can really colour your interpretation of the words.  Whether the words are spoken or written, how you hear and interpret them has a lot to do with where you are and how you are feeling at that moment.

Mindful Communication

Mindfulness is a wonderful tool to learn and teach our children as it shows us how to recognise when our emotions are colouring our perception of the facts.  Mindfulness helps us recognise when we are projecting our own feelings or fears onto another person.  When we are able to recognise this, we can communicate (talking and listening) much more clearly.

Children may be too young at first to learn mindfulness, but if we practise it, then it helps us to stay present and help us perceive the facts rather than become involved in the heat or emotion of the tantrum or tears that our children are using to express their emotions.

As children get older, we can teach them mindfulness skills so that they too can learn how to communicate clearly, helping them feel that they are heard and understood.

Perhaps we can consider that by being clearer in our communication then our children are really teaching us to be mindful.  Both adult and child are experiencing a useful lesson.

I’ve found that simply repeating the following phrase with a single, deeper breath (especially when buttons are being pressed) is a way for me to be mindful before, during and after I communicate (and listen)…

“breathing in I know I am breathing in, breathing out I know I am breathing out”

Namaste

 

Cupcakes for Peace!

Well this made picture made me smile! 

They are Halloween ‘mummy’ cupcakes.  How creative!

However it got me thinking.  To celebrate the upcoming launch of our Calm Kids online course which helps you learn how to teach children meditation – we are announcing a cupcake competition!

If you can make a cupcake that helps us think of ‘Calm Kids’ (you can use your imagination to embrace the idea of meditation/peace etc) and then post it on to our  facebook page (Teach Children Meditation).  It will be decided by the number of likes it receives from our fans.  Prizes are decided in order of number of most likes…

First prize – a free place on our Calm Kids online course  – release date 21st October 2012.
Second prize – a copy of our Calm Kids book (paperback and signed by the author)
Third prize – a copy of either our Crystal Clear cd for kids or Chillzone for teenagers (meditation CDs for children).

You must have your entries posted on our facebook page above no later than midnight 21st October 2012 and we’ll announce the winners on 31st October 2012.

Happy baking! 🙂

 

(Rules – you can only post your photo once on our facebook page to qualify.  Encourage likes by sharing with friends.  Children must be involved in helping with the baking process! 🙂  Only one prize per winner.  No prizes are exchangeable for cash).

 

(Photo via https://www.facebook.com/autismallstars)