“Heigh-Ho Heigh-Ho” to Mindfulness We Go…

Seven fun, musical ways to teach your children mindfulness.


Published:

Teaching our children how to be mindful has been added to our list of important things to do as parents in this hyper-paced generation of over stimulation and endless activity. With the constant bombardment of technology at an ever increasingly young age, parents are looking for ways to help their children stay calm and focused more than ever.   

In times past, being mindful or present was something we kids did naturally simply by running around outside with our friends, creating games in our back woods, playing in the dirt barefoot or catching slippery big-eyed toads from the pond deep in the woods behind our homes. Kids just don’t get to do that anymore and we find ourselves having to teach them how to be mindful and present moment focused. A lot of the stress and anxiety we see in children these days is sadly caused by the inability to be present in the here and now. They are worried about when will they earn some “technology time,” how many people liked their post or how much extra time mom will let them play Mindcraft after school.

Meet Carrie at the 2018 Natural Living Expo Saturday morning, November 10, where she will be playing at the expo entrance as part of the duo Stefilas’s Stone. Carrie is also giving a workshop Sunday, November 11 at 11:30am “Your Story Sucks…The Happiness Right Out of You,” and discover how to change the limiting beliefs behind the stories you tell yourself that keep you from living the life you dream of.

 

So, what is mindfulness? “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally,” says Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School. “It’s about knowing what is on your mind.”

Mindfulness is being in the present moment with what you are doing and aware of your current state of mind, rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. It also involves accepting your thoughts and feelings without judging them as right or wrong. Increased attention, emotional regulation, planning and prioritizing are some of the positive side effects children experience when developing mindfulness.  

As with anything else, parents are the most important teacher in a child’s life. The best way to teach mindfulness to your children is to model the behavior yourself by having your own daily practice. Even if it is just a few minutes a day, developing your skill set will help you operate in mindfulness more often, aligning you more deeply to yourself so that you will be able to connect more with your kids and everyone else around you.  

Model mindful thoughts by speaking them aloud to your children. Sharing your inner dialogue when practicing your own mindfulness strategies serves as an example to help kids create their own healthy inner dialogue. For example, when encountering a stressful situation, you might say aloud, “I am feeling a little upset about this situation, but I’m going to take a moment to breath before I say anything else.” Openly accepting your own feelings in front of your children, (especially when it’s a feeling we don’t like) will make a huge impression and inspire them to handle their own emotions in the same fashion the next time they experience it in the future.  You might say something like, “Wow, that really made me feel mad and I can feel my body starting to get tight and I want to yell, so I’m going to take a moment to walk outside and take a big gulp of fresh air until I feel my body calm down.” Sometimes it’s hard to do this in the moment when emotions are high, and discussing it after the fact has a powerful effect as well.

The blending of music and mindfulness is as natural as the perfect harmonic sound of birds joyfully singing in the back yard. Music naturally decreases stress, anxiety and blood pressure, while raising our self-awareness and level of compassion for others. Pairing music with mindfulness training is the perfect way to keep it simple and fun. Here are seven fun ways to teach your children to be mindful using music.

Musical Breathing

The breath is the most important part of teaching mindfulness. Put on some music that is calming to your child and have her lie on the floor with her favorite stuffed animal on her belly. Show her how to breathe in and count 1, 2, 3 and breathe out 1, 2, 3 and watch the animal go for a ride up and down. Psychologist Daniel Goleman calls this, “training of the attentional circuitry…that helps them focus not just on what the teacher (or parent) is saying, but this same circuitry helps them manage their distressing emotions.” Helping your child with this attention training by gently bringing the mind back when it wanders also provides self management training. By adding music, your child learns that music is not only for fun and dancing, it can also be for relaxing and learning. Lori Lite describes this type of breathing in her lovely book Sea Otter Cove that teaches kids how the otters do this. Musical breathing is a great addition to bedtime routines for little ones that are restless, overactive, and need help calming down at the end of the day.

Five Senses Mindfulness Meditation

Use the five senses to get your child to tune into his body, which calms his mind. Start with calming music in the backdrop; classical is always a good choice. With eyes closed, ask your child to listen to the noises around him. What does he hear? He can say them in his mind or aloud depending on his age. Younger children like to interact during this, which is fine. Allowing whatever comes up without judgment is mindfulness. Then ask him what he smells, offering an example of something you smell in the air. Continue through the senses offering examples of what your experience is in the current moment, which may be the feel of the cold floor on his bottom, or the cool breeze in his hair. This is a great way to teach your child about his senses and how to feel his body. It brings everyone into present moment awareness, which is where true peace resides.

Drawing On Emotions

It’s fun to invite friends and cousins in for this one. Get some white drawing paper. If it’s a big group of kids, use one of those big rolls of paper and roll it out on the floor. Give each child their own pile of crayons. Pick different songs or pieces of music that have varying tempos and emotion, and include some classical pieces as well, which tend to have the most interesting results. As you play the different types of music, talk with the kids about how it makes them feel, and then have them draw what that feels like on the paper. This pulls the children into the present moment awareness of how they are feeling while allowing them to see that other kids may feel the same way or may feel something different, nurturing empathy and compassion.

Freeze And Feel Dance

Play varying tempos of music for your child while she dances around until you pause the music with a “freeze” command, then get her to tune into her body sensations. What is she feeling? Ask her to put her hand on her heart to feel the rhythm and to tune into how her breath is moving after dancing, as well as any other sensations she may feel. Try loud, soft, fast and slower music as well.

Listen For The Horns

Help your children identify the different types of sounds and instruments in a piece of music, which hones attention skills and, if practiced enough, can lead to better listening in a classroom setting or wherever there are multiple distractions competing for their attention. You may want to start with their favorite songs and gradually move on to some classical music. If you are not sure yourself, listen to some solo tracks with your kids of one instrument playing, and then try to identify them in the music together. Take them to see an orchestra or the local band playing at the high school to practice this skill some more. Tuning into one specific thing is what mindfulness is all about.

Write Your Own Gratitude Song

Teaching your child to foster a sense of gratitude and appreciation is a skill that will enhance his life for years to come. One way to help him recognize what he is grateful for is to have him create his own gratitude song or a special family song that’s all your own. Pick a tune he knows to another song, like “Old MacDonald” or a popular song on the radio, and rewrite the words. Keep it simple and funny. Then remember to sing it to him again and again so he knows it. Pull it out when he is feeling down or needs a little pick me up. Kids are much more apt to remember things you sing versus just using words. You will be surprised at how much singing this familiar song with a positive message can perk up your child’s mood or get him to tune in and pay attention before you want him to perform a specific task.

Musical Calming Jar

Fill a mason jar with hot water and glitter glue (you can also use a plastic container for younger ones). When you shake the jar it is similar to a snow globe and represents the flurry of the mind when we are upset, over-stimulated or worried. After a few moments of breathing deeply, the jar and the child both calm down. Once you have your jar made, add some music. Begin by playing one song that is exciting and perhaps overly loud while shaking the jar. Change to a mid-tempo song to let your child feel the start of calming, and end with a song that is quieter and soothing as the sparkles in the jar start to settle into stillness, just like your little one. Have your child pretend she is the sparkles falling to the bottom of the jar. You’ll be amazed at how fast she will settle down when the quiet, relaxing song comes on.  

As with learning any new skill, repetition is the mother of all skills. The reason it is called a practice is because we need to keep doing it over and over. Kids love repetition as evidenced by the number of times you have probably read the same books again and again at bedtime. Repetition feels good to them and makes their brains feel safe and happy. By using music as a tool for calming and soothing you set up a healthy and safe environment for children to learn to relax. Allowing them to choose which is their favorite way to practice being mindful increases their locus of control and therefore their feelings of self-assuredness and safety. Over time, this will set a lovely tone of sweet harmony in your home so you can attune more to the rhythm of a joyful family.

Carrie Rowan is an award winning singer/songwriter, author, edutainer, and founder of the popular Bee Kind Music and Calming for Mommy classes that educate while they entertain children and adults. Her passion is combining positively charged music with energy medicine and mindfulness to spread joy while healing and soothing souls of all ages. Visit www.merrygomusic.com. Meet Carrie at the Natural Living Expo Saturday morning, November 10, where she will be playing at the expo entrance as part of the duo Stefilas’s Stone. Carrie is also giving a workshop Sunday, November 11 at 11:30am “Your Story Sucks…The Happiness Right Out of You.

See also:
A Riot Of Perfume
Music Training Speeds Up Brain Development In Children

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

April 20, 2019

Changes are afoot The Sun arrives in earthy Taurus shortly before dawn. Venus makes her entrance into Aries just minutes after noon. The Taurus Sun coincides with the heart ofspringtime, riots of colorful blossoms, trills of birdsongs and countless other…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

April 2019

Come and learn the wisdom of the Tarot! In this class we will dissect and discover the nuances and charms of the cards. The tarot deck has 78 cards in it, each with its own archetypal and...

Cost: $125

Where:
Moth and Moon Studio
173 South River Road
Suite #4
Bedford, NH  03110
View map »


Sponsor: Moth and Moon Studio
Telephone: 603-782-3674
Contact Name: Danielle Dionne
Website »

More information

For girls ages 10-15 with their moms or other adult female caregiver/friend This mini retreat is designed specifically for mothers and daughters to share quality positive time with one other....

Cost: $75/pair

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
Website »

More information

When people are in an extreme state of peacelessness, doubt or despair they often look to a higher source for peace, love, strength & wisdom. Learn to connect to the higher source to gain...

Cost: Admission free, all are welcome

Where:
InnerSpace Meditation Center And Gallery
1110 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA  02138
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

Class is limited to only 12 people. Be sure to register early!   Class dates: Tuesdays—4/16, 4/23, 5/7, 5/14, 5/21 *Tuesday, 4/30 there is no meeting   Explore deeper...

Cost: $250

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
386 Merrimack Street, Suite 1-A
Methuen, MA  01844
View map »


Sponsor: Circles of Wisdom
Telephone: 978-474-8010
Contact Name: Cathy Kneeland
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

April 17–20 9am-3pm each day Experience transformation guided by Mother Mary. Through Divine vibration, you will be aligned for quicker healing and evolving with mind body spirit and...

Cost: $500

Where:
, MA


Sponsor: The LoveLight Center
Telephone: (207) 216-9584
Contact Name: Cheryl Banfield

More information

The American Center for Bioregulatory Medicine and Dentistry (The BioMed Center) is the most comprehensive center in North America for bioregulatory medicine and dentistry. Come see what...

Cost: Free and open to the public

Where:
111 Chestnut Street
Providence, RI
View map »


Website »

More information

For all ages.   In this class hand-building techniques are taught with different projects monthly. Please see the list of projects below: Wednesday, April 17th, 4:30–6:00 PM...

Cost: $35

Where:
Voice of Clay
16 Meetinghouse Hill Rd
Brookline, NH  03033
View map »


Sponsor: Voice of Clay
Telephone: 603-672-2626
Contact Name: Wendy
Website »

More information

Discover how you can release tight muscles and improve range of motion in locked joints in a weekly ESSENTRICS stretch classes led by Raindrop Fisher, certified Essentrics instructor. Raindrop is a...

Cost: $10 drop-in / $100 for 12 classes

Where:
Village at Waterman Lake
Function Room - Chalet Bldg
715 Putnam Pike
Greenville, RI  02828
View map »


Sponsor: Healthier Fit Lifestyle
Telephone: 401-678-0950
Contact Name: Raindrop Fisher
Website »

More information

Instructor: Pam Driscoll Wednesdays, April 17, May 8, 22, June 5, 19, 6:30pm–7:30pm Join us for the Mid-Week Meditation Sampler at Creative Spirit…an opportunity to pause,...

Cost: $20 per class

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 781-797-0389
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Sample three types of meditation and discuss which you liked best and why, at She Breathes Balance & Wellness Studio in Walpole, MA.

Where:
She Breathes Balance & Wellness Studio
85 West Street
2nd Floor
Walpole, MA
View map »


Telephone: (508) 282-7877
Website »

More information

Instructor: Peyton Pugmire Thursdays: April 18, May 16, June 13 6:30pm–8:30pm Adult Level “In the same way that all dreams come in the service of health and...

Cost: Pay what you wish

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
View map »


Sponsor: Creative Spirit
Telephone: 781-797-0389
Website »

More information

This development group is for students of mediumship looking to enhance, expand and practice their mediumship abilities. Traditional and progressive mediumship development techniques, topics and...

Cost: $25 per person

Where:
Moth and Moon Studio
173 South River Road
Suite #4
Bedford, NH  03110
View map »


Sponsor: Moth and Moon Studio
Telephone: 603-782-3674
Contact Name: Danielle Dionne
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
No Events

Join us for a day long workshop as we learn to connect to the energy of the angelic realm. Our primary purpose is working with 9 incredible angels of the healing energy field. You will learn the...

Cost: $99

Where:
Moth and Moon Studio
173 South River Road
Suite #4
Bedford, NH  03110
View map »


Sponsor: Moth and Moon Studio
Telephone: 603-782-3674
Contact Name: Danielle Dionne
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags