Mindfulness for children
Yes, we understand that this is much easier said than done. Mindfulness seems to be a word that is thrown into conversations as a Miracle Worker to fix all of life’s issues.
Let us say that there is no pressure to sit and meditate with your child. That’s not what we are saying here. Especially as we are “mindful” that you as parents have been through an incredibly difficult loss and there is nothing that we can say to fix that for you – only that we would always encourage you to go slowly and be compassionate towards yourself.
This is not another activity for your to do list.
Mindfulness can simply be, being with. Being with your child and don’t worry as being aware of your child is instinctual.
Death of a sibling can have many affects on your child, these can include crying, irritable, clinginess, bad dreams, anger, distress, bed wetting or reverting to baby talk.
There are many ways for a child to learn to cope with their loss. Noticing these and knowing they are normal and talking to them about this is a gentle way to be with your child.
In our house, when Declan died anxiety became heightened in all of us. Both children and adults, because we were so scared that someone else may die. We were visibly shaken.
Little areas that could help you to be mindful with your child as they are in their process are:
- First of all, look after yourself. Drink the water, have the chocolate and take deep breaths.
- Trust yourself, your inner resources are with you.
- Lots of reassurance of their sadness being normal.
- Acknowledging their feelings. This could be a simple, “I hear you pet” and a kiss on the forehead.
- Use language that a child can understand.
- Stick to your routine.
- You can be honest with the children of your feelings and how you are learning to cope with them yourself. A child can pick up on the energy in the house and will read your body language. Letting them know you feel it too allows them to experience their grief with compassion and knowing its OK to talk about it. You lead and they will follow.
- We found as children and now looking back as adults how incredibly important it is to celebrate. Celebrate Christmas, celebrate a great result in their test, celebrate each other, celebrate a first tooth or saying goodbye to a soother. What-ever it is, find ways to notice the little events and the big ones. Even if the celebration is a balloon to say well done, a homemade poster or a written card telling them of how proud you are of them. No expense just again being with.
Children want to be seen and heard in their heartbreak. Allowing space for this offers them a feeling of being held emotionally and energetically.
Ted Talks are always brilliant. You can find almost any subject you need.
Meditating with death: youtube
Headspace is a free app with guided meditations that you can keep track of your progress for just minutes a day. Again this is just a click of a button: www.headspace.com . If this feels like it’s a to do list then don’t download it because you feel you should. You will find what works for you. Like a cup of tea we are all different.
A guided meditation for children. There is a series of videos that you can find through this link to suit you best here.