The Little M. just finished class 2, and throughout the whole year, he was very restless, unfocused and all over the place very often. We don’t have a TV at home, and the Little M. doesn’t watch movies or play games on our phones so his restlessness couldn’t be blamed on too much exposure to the visual content.
During that year we have tried many different therapies to help him overcome his fidgetiness and lack of focus, but it wasn’t until I attempted mindfulness that something finally worked.
Desperate and exhausted (a lot of parents get to that point) I wondered if perhaps yoga and meditation were going to be the right answer for the Little M. Since it was summer and we were travelling I didn’t give much energy or time to ponder on my wanderings. Until one day, purely by accident, I discovered a MindUp program.
MindUp is built on years of research by top scientists and pioneered and promoted by Goldie Hawn (she is not only an actress but also an educational activist). At first, I read her “10 Mindful Minutes” book, and after few initial chapters, I knew I was going to do my best to implement her program into our lives.
Little M. and I started following “MindUp” curriculum from September 2017, and so far, we have learnt about the brain, brain structure and how mindfulness affects everyday life and our long-term memory, which in turn influence our current and future decisions.
In one of the lessons a breathing exercise was introduced, and we have been breathing a minute (believe me this is long enough of stillness for the Little M.) a day, right before we leave the house for school.
Since we started our mindfulness adventure, the Little M. not only became calmer (not as anxious as he used to be) but also more aware of what is happening around him. When he sees angry or overreacting people around him, he will often say that this person isn’t very mindful and should count to ten or take few deep breaths to calm down just like he does when under stress or pressure.
He knows a lot about pre-frontal cortex, amygdala and hippocampus and how those three little helpers help not only kids but also grown-ups make smart decisions. He knows how to calm himself down when his amygdala decides to fight, and he seems to be more centred in his body than ever before.
As a parent and a current practitioner of mindfulness, I believe that mindfulness should be introduced to every curriculum around the world. How else can we help children to deal with their emotions, learn compassion and be able to understand their brain and the mechanisms behind their decisions? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful gift for the future generations to focus on mindfulness and kindness instead of competition and threats?
It doesn’t take long to do mindfulness, and the long-term benefits are enormous. So instead of complaining that the modern kids are not like they used to be (of course they are not as the times have changed and the kids must change as well) head off to this website https://mindup.org/ and implement what you learnt into your daily life, and of course stop complaining that life is not like it was 40 years ago.