Backpacks, tablets, notebooks, markers, clothes, shoes… and that’s just the short list!
We all want to equip our kids to have a great year in school. But in our frenzy to get all the necessary “stuff” we often forget about equipping them with the skills it takes to navigate new halls, meet new teachers, tackle new subjects and face new social situations without completely stressing out.
Let’s make this year different.
I’ve talked before (see my Blog from April 4, 2017) about Reboot, Release, Renew — an easy breathing technique to help quiet the mind and cue the brain to remain calm and composed. It’s a great tool for kids and parents to use at breakfast, when car-pooling, or on the school bus!
For deeper mindfulness, however, one of the best tools is meditation. Yup, I said it — the word that often strikes a negative response in parents who still connect meditation with Eastern religions. Don’t let the word or the practice scare you away. There’s a reason meditation has been around all these years.
Can meditation really calm down a rambunctious 5th grader? Soothe an anxious 1st grader? Help a frazzled teacher keep her cool? Absolutely! Schools that use meditation in the classroom have seen it help kids self-regulate emotions, energy levels, and behavior. A recent article in New Jersey Monthly magazine quotes twenty-year veteran teacher Danielle Kutcher, who started using meditation in her 5th grade classroom four years ago. “I’ve always felt there was a piece of the puzzle, of educating the whole child, that was missing.” Now she feels the final piece is in place, and reports a consistent, “…immediate, positive change in the students…changes in their self-perception” that created a profound “readiness to learn”.
An elementary school in Baltimore has seen similar changes. The school starts every day with a breathing exercise over the PA system. It also offers after-school programs, yoga classes that teach students how to calm themselves and regulate their behavior. The result? In the 2013–14 school year, there were zero suspensions for rowdy behavior. Even the kids gave meditation an A+. One 4th grader said mindfulness calms her down “when I have an attitude.” And a 5th grader now uses breathing techniques when babysitting little kids, showing them how to take deep breaths when they’re “hyper”.
If your school already uses meditation, be grateful. If not, learn more about meditation and teach your kids (and their teachers) by example. I PROMISE TO HELP! My goal, as always, is to make sure all our kids have every opportunity to be simply successful!
Be sure to share your experiences and resources on Facebook.com/@Simplysuccessfulkids.
Debra Timmerman is an R.N., a Healing Touch practitioner, and co-founder of Simply Successful Kids.
Next blog: a couple of meditation techniques that you (and your kids) can start using immediately!