SUBSCRIBE to our Newsletter

Your email address

SUBSCRIBE

EMAIL

Mindfulness Matters!

Mindfulness Programs for Children and Teenagers

 

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is simply a way of paying attention to things as they happen in the present moment, with some curiosity and kindness towards yourself and your experience. With mindfulness, you bring your attention to your inner and outer experiences in the best way that you can. There is no striving to go somewhere, to feel something else, or to block things out. This practice allows you to slow down, it calms your mind and creates some space – in this space you can choose how to respond to your experience.

Mindfulness is like waking up from being on autopilot; freeing yourself from stressful thoughts about the past and the future, and letting go of routines, habits, and behaviors that are not serving you well.

It’s not yet another way to improve yourself or one more thing for your to-do list, and it’s not just meditation. Mindfulness is a ‘way of being’ or an ‘approach to life’ and can be practiced in both formal (meditations) and informal (actions, speech, behaviors) ways.

Mindfulness for children and adolescents

Today young people are often too busy, they can’t find time to slow down to just be. With a head full of busy and at times anxious thoughts, they are too easily distracted, often stressed and many have trouble sleeping. Practicing mindfulness can help calm their minds and bodies and creates inner strength in these times of stress or difficulty.

you can’t stop the waves in your life, but you can learn to surf them

For children and adolescents mindfulness can help them to create space, to change impulsive or automatic reactions, and to be calm when before there may have been stress, anxiety or inappropriate behavior. They learn to surf the waves.

The Benefits of Mindfulness

Research and anecdotal evidence through the shared stories of students, and parent and teacher reflections suggest these positive outcomes for children and adolescents:

  • Improved concentration and focused attention – they learn to move attention to what they want to focus on
  • Reduced stress, anxiety and aggression  – they learn how to calm the mind and body in times of difficulty, stress, anxiety or when experiencing aggressive feelings
  • Being curious of their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors – noticing how they affect the mind and body
  • Understanding and accepting that we are not our thoughts and emotions, these are simply normal human experiences
  • Improved emotion regulation – using mindfulness to respond to their thoughts, feelings, and emotions appropriately
  • Improved executive function and impulse control – regularly working the “attention muscle” will reduce automatic reactions and improve cognitive functions
  • Increased self-kindness and compassion toward others
  • Increased curiosity and awareness improves self-confidence
  • Relaxation, calmness and better quality of sleep

For a more detailed discussion, you can refer to this supporting document.

Our Mindfulness Courses

Method Eline Snel – Mindfulness for Children (also known as Mindfulness Matters!)

Our mindfulness courses are age specific programs of 8-10 week designed specifically for children, adolescents, and young adults. Based on the core principles of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program for adults, the programs have been comprehensively designed and tested over the past 10 years.  Thousands of children worldwide have benefited from the programs, and they are currently taught throughout Hong Kong in schools, health care settings, private groups, and with individual children.

We teach mindfulness through short meditations and breath work, games and activities, movement (yoga), and stories around the theme of each lesson, as well as home activities for the students and other family members.

Lessons take place once a week at a set time. In addition, we invite students and parents (age group dependent) to practice short exercises throughout the week with the help of workbooks and guided exercises.

For current course availability see our Courses. We often run parent and teens orientation workshops for those who want to know more.

Our Objectives

Our objective is to give young people mindfulness as a life skill so they can…

  • feel happier & calmer
  • be more aware of or accepting of themselves
  • get on better with others
  • concentrate and focus on what they want to be doing at that time
  • understand stress and the impact on their mind and body
  • deal with difficult moods & emotions
  • listen & respond thoughtfully

Why learn through a course

When sharing mindfulness with people of any age, it is essential that our teachings come from the depth of our own experience. Training our attention on the present moment with curiosity, kindness, and compassion may be relatively simple, but requires well-informed and experienced guidance and practice to cultivate positive habits of mind.

In sharing mindfulness with young people we need to use age-adaptive language and exercises that are engaging, relevant and digestible if we hope to have any acceptance. This means that they need to be able to apply mindfulness in their daily lives (informally) and not only when sitting on a meditation cushion or lying on their bed.  Children, and especially adolescents, need to experience how mindfulness can help with exam anxiety, presentation nervousness, relationship issues and the self-imposed pressures of phones, social media, and FOMO (fear of missing out).

Practice is essential and the course environment allows young people the opportunity to practice more often and to share experiences with others. This is a valuable learning.

Youth Voices

In this 3-minute video, teens share how mindfulness helps them to handle stress by living more in the present moment! We thank “Mindfulness For Teens” for making this available.

Shared experiences from our students 

Training

Angie is a certified mindfulness instructor teaching children, adolescents and young adults.  She is certified to teach Method Eline Snel – Mindfulness for Children and .b (dot b) from the Mindfulness in Schools Project.

We are also proud to be appointed the Asia Partner for the International Academy for Mindful Teaching (AMT). We manage AMT teacher training courses in Hong Kong, and throughout Asia.

The AMT courses for children instructors are thorough, personal and emphasize the instructors own mindful attitude. Instructors are required to continue their development through annual refresher courses, mindfulness retreats, and professional development opportunities.

For more mindfulness based resources for children, parents, and teachers see our resources page

For further inquiries please contact Angie Bucu on angie@ingredientsofwellness.com

Image credit: Surfing Frog: elinesnel.com

No Comments yet, your thoughts are welcome.

Leave a Reply