I have been increasingly interested in mindfulness and its application not just for caregiver wellbeing, but with children as another “tool” to give them to navigate the challenges of life. It is a practice that can help promote emotional self-regulation and attention. While there is limited research thus far among children, I think it shows promise for helping teach different ways of thinking how we can apply and role model positive parenting strategies for self-care and self-acceptance. A majority of the studies to date have examined the benefits and feasibility of doing these types of interventions with school-age children in school settings. For an easy-to-read synopsis of the literature, you can check out the 12 page summary from mindfulnessinschools.org by clicking here.
Happiness Doesn’t Come from Headstands is a new hardcover book written by Tamara Levitt. It recounts the story of Leela, a little girl who cannot do headstands. At first she gets super frustrated by this fact and then begins to think about all the things she cannot do, in addition to the headstands. However, with the help of her friend, Lyle, she learns to accept those things that she cannot yet do and learns to be patient with herself.
The story’s message is clear that sometimes the goal should not always be perfection or mastery, but enjoying the journey and remembering our strengths. For those families who already practice yoga and mindfulness with children, it is a great way to reinforce the practice.
I recently read this book to my daughter’s second grade class when I was the Mystery Reader. The children were intrigued by the story and it prompted a nice discussion about everyone’s challenges and acceptance of these challenges. While we can keep practicing, sometimes it is ok to know that everyone has strengths (things that they are really awesome at) and some things that are just so-so or cannot do at all–and that is just fine. The conclusion they came to was that we have many reasons to celebrate each other.
Check out the lovely book and if you enjoy it, you might want to check out the Calm App available here, for children’s bedtime stories and mindfulness exercises to further the practice. Ms. Levitt is head of content for the Calm app and we find her voice very soothing. We use the app regularly and the bedtime stories helps to ease children into gentle sleep.
You can purchase the book by clicking on the link: