Ivy Child Team

Mindfulness for kids. A Quick Guide

 

Mindfulness For Kids. An Essential Life Hack

Mindfulness has become well known as a tool to help those with anxiety and depression. Another popular notion is that mindfulness is only meant for those looking to supercharge their efficiency at work.

But mindfulness is a superpower practice of ‘being’ of becoming capable of living through experiences without being overwhelmed by those experiences or without giving in to our reactions to these experiences. Its advantages in helping us cope with mental health issues is just one of its many positive outcomes.

Mindfulness helps kids with not only with early onset mental health and social emotional challenges; mindfulness is essential and beneficial for every child for their overall wellbeing.

Children are constantly drawing and redrawing their understanding of the world through what they experience and how they see others react to their individual and collective experiences. Hence the sooner we train ourselves to not be swayed by our experiences the better we would be at navigating the world without being consumed into the negativity that so many of us, so often experience.

Mindfulness equips children with simple practices to work directly with managing their central nervous system, helping them regulate, manage emotional states and focus attention.

Mindfulness Improves Focus

Being taught to practice attentiveness and focus at an early age is to receive the most important tool to hack life itself. The ability to tune out distractions and to fully be focused on one’s breath or even on a sound, emotion or sensation, helps one to center and find stillness and calm. Mindfulness for children helps kids navigate the highs and lows of life building a resilient mind.

Improved focus allows children to be able to retain more information and with greater clarity. With improved concentration, comes far better performance at everything – academics, sports and art. Mindfulness for children doesn’t just help them get better grade, but to simply do better at almost everything.

Mindfulness Enhances Self-Awareness

Learning to experience life without judgement and reaction teaches kids the essential skill of being self aware at all times. Mindfulness practice helps children deal with tough emotions and even improves impulse control. It replaces impulsive reactions with thoughtful responses.

Mindfulness gives kids the skills to focus their minds, calm down and meditate on a vexing issue with greater calm and clarity. When children start understanding their emotional ranges, they understand the triggers and outcomes of oscillating emotions and are able to self regulate their impulses.

Mindfulness Develops Social Skills

When one is able to apply their mind with clarity and are able to self-regulate their emotional states, it is understandably easier to develop empathy. Mindfulness in children allows them to build strong connections with peers, develop strong meaningful relationships and social encounters.

Ivy Child International runs a range of campus and community based child-centered mindfulness programs across systems of education and care with a special focus on schools and institutions in Boston, Massachusetts. Ivy Child’s campus programs provide daily mindfulness education in schools as part of the curriculum.

Ivy Child TeamMindfulness for kids. A Quick Guide
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Together through COVID

While the world is uniting in efforts to battle an array of challenges, we feel it is crucial to find ways to serve our community in the best possible manner through mindfulness in action. How individuals respond to an outbreak can depend on many factors but protecting those most vulnerable, bridging and providing immediate relief and recovery support is essential to our collective wellbeing.

As the spring of 2020 rolled in, the realization that the world was going to be in the grip of an unprecedented global crisis was quickly becoming the truth in all our minds. A spate of fresh cases of a new disease on the other side of the globe had snowballed into a global pandemic.

Now, more than ever, our community needed the practice of mindfulness to battle the anxiety and psychological strain of this new reality. To ensure that we continued to bring the mindfulness to our community, we moved all our programs and activities to virtual platforms. We made our resources available online for free for our community to use and share.

But we wished to do more; we wanted to try and provide tangible support to members of our community.

In May, Ivy Child set up an Emergency Relief Fund and with the help of fundraising efforts and generous donations to create a corpus for immediate financial support for our community. Over the last few months, we have achieved the following goals:

  • Executed $75,000 to teachers and youth ambassadors in Ivy Child International’s network and mobilize them to share practice, prevention management and wellness strategies to stop the spread of COVID-19 
  • Distribute 10000 masks and hygiene kits for free to our healthcare partners and families
  • Provide 250, $50 micro recovery grants to vulnerable families.

Furthermore, Ivy Child harnessed its community network and operational capacity to serve as the partner and administrator of The Yoga Alliance Foundation Emergency Relief Fund alongside the Yoga Alliance Foundation. The fund aimed at providing financial support to those within the community who were experiencing extreme economic hardship due to COVID-19.

  • The fund disbursed a minimum of $150 to a maximum of $1500 to yoga teachers whose livelihoods were impacted by COVID-19 globally.
  • The fund received applications from over 30 different countries and over 45 diverse cultures.
  • 85% of the applicants self identified as female.
  • Over 85% of applicants had lost 56% to 100% of their income due to the COVID-19.
  • 93% of applicants had a household income lower than $70,000 per year.

Stories of Resilience

In the course of Ivy Child and Yoga Alliance Foundation’s outreach during this period, we have constantly come across stories that give us an insight into the human condition at the moment; glimpses of unwavering strength, or of hope and positivity at the darkest but always stories of mindfulness and meditation helping them find their bearings in the negativity. Here are some excerpts from such stories.

  • So many things have been uncertain for me, but the virtual (yoga) studio gives me something to look forward to. It has brought so much comfort. Something as simple as yoga, from someone that felt so far away is now accessible to me in the privacy of my own home. This helps me hang on to hope. My fathers recovery seems so far away, but I know I have felt this way about other things that have somehow worked out.

    Mayra
  • In the face of COVID-19, we are challenged with self-isolation, financial and employment uncertainties and disruptions in our day to day lives. Both my parents are immigrants, seniors and have especially been experiencing stress that is debilitating and more seriously, dangerous for their health and well-being. Yoga is the practice of freedom. It is my practice that keeps me grounded and connected to the supreme reality, one which we are all living within. Knowing this, I have been able to connect with individuals across the world as we are collectively not only experiencing this, but also collectively healing together. Life is happening right this instant. Despite the situation and pandemic, we are all experiencing this together collectively.

    Amandeep
  • I continue to teach two weekly yoga classes online on a volunteer basis at no cost. Though this circumstance is not ideal, I am grateful to have this outlet to teach so that I can still connect with others and to not allow my teaching skills to get rusty. Deepening my practice with consistency and openness for knowledge and new experiences has helped me feel grounded and my heart at ease during these uncertain times.  

    Aileen
  • La practica del día me permite abrirme y recordar la paz que habita dentro mi, que soy mas que cuerpo, que hay mas que esta situación, que en calma y paz puedo librar si me lo permite, sonriendole a mi hijo y jugando con el, haciendo un tiempo productivo en casa, olvidando que es un encierro forzado, recordandome que es una oportunidad para limpiar y sanar mi mente, porque se presentan las sombras entre la incertidumbre y la practica me permite identificarlas, perdonar, sanarlas y desarrollarme, avanzar. No digo que es fácil, pero el yoga me permite recordarlo y facilita el proceso.

    Nuria
  • This is not the first time that the practice has helped me through a major life challenge. Eight years ago, I began my journey with fibromyalgia, and last year, I parted from my marriage of 21 years. When the COVID-19 crisis came our way, I was prepared to use my learned skills to ride yet another wave. Viewing the world’s situation, and then my own, through the lens of an observer empowered me with the compassion and ability necessary to give myself permission to feel, then heal.

    Terilouise
  • I had to live at my sisters for 3 months and my dad got sick and I had to take over the business. My brain went from working 1000% to 10% in a week. Taking it slowly. I learned that yoga helped me save my life during this time.

    Monica
Ivy Child TeamTogether through COVID
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How helpful is Mindfulness for mental health?

Mental wellbeing is the new public health revolution. It has become a goal for people across the globe to enjoy positive mental health. While mental health could mean different things to different people, we can all agree that living a thriving life with mental clarity, balanced emotions, positivity and a sense of purpose would mean living a happy life; a life free of mental health issues.

It’s estimated that over one billion people globally have a mental, neurodevelopment or substance use disorder.

for World Economic Forum

Contrary to what most of us believe, the number of people with mental health issues has grown at a rate commensurate with the growth rate of global populations. But what has definitely grown by leaps-and-bounds is the general population’s acceptance of mental illness and a widespread destigmatisation of mental health ailments.

Another big change in the world regarding mental health has been the spectrum of solutions and practices available to maintain positive mental health. One of the biggest impacts in how we approach and manage mental health has been made by a simple practice known as ‘Mindfulness’.

What is Mindfulness?

As mindful.org puts it; Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It allows us to pause amid the constant inflow of stimuli and consciously decide how to act, rather than react reflexively with ingrained behavior patterns. Mindfulness is a centuries-old idea that has been reinvented to address the challenges of our digital age.

How does it work?

The research is in and it suggests that mindfulness affects the body and the brain to produce or alter hormones and chemicals that enhance our physical and mental wellbeing. Scientists have found links between non-judgemental and non-reactive acceptance of our experiences and positive psychological and physical states. Mindfulness, hailed as one of the most significant developments in mental health practice, is fast becoming the most effective recourse for people suffering from anxiety, depression and a host of other mental health problems.

While the guiding philosophy of all mindfulness practice finds its roots Eastern spirituality and is often attributed to Buddhist Vipassana  the modern techniques vary vastly amongst themselves and new techniques seem to pop up almost every day. In his book – Mindfulness for Beginners, Jon Kabat-Zinn, known as the father of mindfulness in the west, emphasizes that the practice of mindfulness holds the possibility of not just a fleeting sense of contentment, but a true embracing of a deeper unity that envelops and permeates our lives

There are also a host of resources available in the form of apps, books, online tutorials and classes that help grasp and inculcate a mindfulness practice that suits one.

Head on over to our Resources section to see browse some helfpful mindfulness tools and recommendations.

Ivy Child International is on a mission to provide universal mindfulness education to children and underserved communities, prioritizing urban populations and their multicultural needs. Ivy Child works on furthering the spread of mindfulness throughout the population with their proprietary MINDFULNESS MULTIPLIER EFFECT a mindfulness movement meant to create a ripple effect that starts form individuals and communities that practice mindfulness and spreads through everyone around them.

 

Ivy Child TeamHow helpful is Mindfulness for mental health?
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