Using mindfulness with kids is becoming increasingly popular. Mindfulness can improve happiness, attentiveness, emotional regulation, and relieve stress. Kids with ADHD or anxiety can use mindfulness to learn to be still or understand their feelings. Mindful-based parenting approaches teach caregivers how to stay cool and self-regulate their own emotional responses. Learn how to introduce the concept of being still and focusing by checking out the book by Olivia Roney called Your Chime.
Bringing calm and mindfulness into the home
Some parents wonder, “How do you teach children skills of mindfulness when you can’t even get them to sit still?”
“How do you teach kids to pay attention to their bodies and thoughts when they have short attention spans?” Preschool-age children can be taught these skills quickly, while having fun.
Teach kids about Monkey Mind!
Ever heard of “monkey mind?” It comes from Buddhist principles of feeling unsettled and restless. In mindfulness, kids learn to calm their “monkey mind” by focusing on breathing and drawing attention to their feelings.
Children are naturally imaginative and curious. Readers of my blog know how much I LOVE using children’s books to teach life skills and bring families together. Check out a new book called Your Chime by first-time author and CEO of Crouching Tigers, Olivia Roney.
Olivia uses the book to show how she uses the sound bowl and monkey mind with kids in her classes. My Chime invites kids to chase away “monkey mind” in a whimsical way. Kids focus on the sound as well as their breath, being still and quiet.
Common themes or examples in My Chime include:
- Monkey mind is common and bothers everyone from time to time
- When “monkey mind” might show up (acting mean when you want to act nice, stomp your feet in anger or tell little lies, telling mommy or dad ‘NO!’)
- Models how to use the sound bowl and stay focused on the sound to chase ‘monkey mind’ away
- Gives other ideas on when to chase ‘monkey mind’ like when settling for bed, whenever they need a break, or practice with friends or with parents
At the end of the story, Olivia provides “Chime Tips” for grown-ups.
For example, what to do if the sound bowl is used other than intended. Or, how to redirect children during an impending meltdown. She reminds parents to engage in positive ways so children take ownership of the tool.
Short Q&A with the author, Olivia Roney
Q: Why is mindfulness/meditation an important skill to teach kids?
A: I started incorporating Your Chime into my Crouching Tigers (martial arts for children) classes 4 years ago when I recognized that children simply weren’t able to focus. When kids are not focused, it makes it harder to learn the lessons we were teaching. Having taught over ten thousand children in the program, I noticed a serious decline in my student’s ability to pay attention and retain the curriculum over the years.
I recognized that the world the surrounds young children has changed and is now more stimulating than ever before. I knew if I wanted to get my students to focus and learn, I needed to teach them to first calm their minds. Since we added Your Chime it has substantially increased focus during lessons and lesson retention within the program!
Q: What is the youngest age you can teach mindfulness in kids?
A: Children begin to grasp the concept at 3 years old. I also recently brought Your Chime to a school system that now incorporates the lesson every day for grades K-5.
Q: How can you get kids to practice this at home?
A: Allow your child to decide when to “chime out” or offer suggestions with cues like “it seems like you might have a little monkey mind” instead of demanding that a child use the tool. One benefit of this tool, when used correctly, is it allows children to use self awareness. We hear students all the time say things like “I have a lot of monkey mind today, can we use the chime again?”
Q: Can you share a story showing how kids learned or are using mindfulness to focus and be still?
A: I love bringing Your Chime to preschools because of the joy it brings to teachers! I presented the book and lesson to a preschool that had a classroom of very rambunctious 4 year old boys. The teacher was overwhelmed needing to constantly correct behavior and was struggling to get the class to learn and retain her lessons.
When I brought Your Chime to her, she was skeptical at first. The sound of the chime itself only lasts about 14 seconds. This teacher assumed that there was no way it would make any difference for her classroom. After watching how well her students responded and how firmly they seemed to grasp the concept of “monkey mind,” she was blown away!-Olivia Roney
I checked back months later and not only is she using it every morning in class but her students were asking to use it whenever they felt they had “monkey mind”. This teacher claims that Your Chime helped her rowdy class calm down, focus and practice self control in a way she never thought possible.
Q: How can families get a copy of your book and/or sound bowl?
A: Your Chime can be purchased in the Crouching Tigers store 🙁https://crouchingtigers.com/store/) . The book and chime come together as a set.