The art of mindfulness with children

Marg and Carrol run Educating Mindful Minds in Bentleigh East. 204769_02 Picture: ROB CAREW

By Danielle Galvin

Educating Mindful Minds is all about helping children to develop mindfulness skills early in life, to help them understand themselves and others better and to develop ways not just to survive in the modern world, but to thrive in it.

Sisters Carrol James and Margaret Gray started running the workshops as they believe it can be hard for children to navigate an increasingly technology and social media driven world.

“Kids don’t get a chance to switch off and unwind and find solace in a place where they can safely recharge to take on the next day,” Carrol said.

“Our workshops are fun, interactive and we encourage the children’s versions of their experiences, so we can tailor the conversation to what is going on for them and we are able to do this as we limit our class sizes to 15.

“We use various methods;- cognitive therapy play, mindful meditations, breathing techniques and listening.”

The unique program runs on Mondays at Connect Health and Community in Bentleigh East.

The sessions are designed for children who are over thinkers, reactive, have anxiety or need help managing stress, ADHD and any other child who may need a better understanding of their emotions.

The after school hours program for children aged 6-12 years includes meditation, simple breathing and self-soothing techniques.

“We have found it incredible just how much the kids open up and feel supported knowing that the other students are going through difficulties, it helps them see they are not alone in what they feel,” Carrol explained.

“The program has seen significant shifts in lowering anxiety, increasing compassion to self and others, respect for the people around us, this has come about by increasing their ability to identify emotions, which in turn ultimately enables them to manage themselves more easily in difficult situations.

“Being able to say to children it’s OK to have a voice and tell us how you are feeling – that’s the best gift we can give our kids.”

The aim of the program is to help guide children to recognise and identify different emotions.

“And as a parent don’t we want to make our children’s lives to be as easy as they can be, with EMM we can help them with the tools they need to do this with their own positive way, as we want them to be able to stand on their own two feet with confidence and ease,” Margaret said.

NDIS self managed participants are welcome.

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