Today I wanted to talk about the benefits of mindfulness for children. Mindfulness has been shown to be hugely beneficial for well-being, mental health and coping with the multiple roles we all must play in our lives. Whilst our children are wonderful examples of living in the moment when they are absorbed in an activity, they can become overwhelmed as well. Without experience to help them, their worries about the future, even the very short-term future, can become scary and upsetting.
This is when we can help our children use mindfulness techniques to slow down, become calm and really notice what is going on in the world around them in that moment. This helps them to manage their feelings and put aside any worries about what might happen later. By starting them on this journey at a young age they will always have the tools to help them in later life.
The power of mindfulness for children at Christmas time
Christmas is a wonderful time for children; friends, family, presents, special food and TV shows all combine to create an extremely heightened mix of stimulation for them. Whilst it can be exciting they can also struggle to manage the sensory overload this creates, and it can result in fractious behaviour, sleep problems, tears, and frustration. This means it can be a real challenge for parents to help their children unwind and understand their feelings and the unfortunate result affects the whole family. But this is something that can be helped by some simple mindfulness techniques that everyone can do.
Introducing mindfulness guru The Master Owl
The Master Owl character is a mindfulness guru, he was created by author and inventor Rob Holmes the co-creator of the Grobag, the baby sleeping bag that brought a peaceful night’s sleep to millions of babies in the UK, and the Gro-Clock. Rob has studied mindfulness since a revelatory moment in 2011 and has helped many people learn the techniques he now shares through his books. He brings the gift of mindfulness to children through Master Owl, a wise owl who lives high up in the trees of the forest noticing everything around him and helping his forest friends through their everyday worries.
Rob says: “I call mindfulness ‘the power of noticing’. Our minds can be so busy thinking about the past and future, we fail to notice what is happening in the now, in the present moment, which is the only moment we ever experience life in! So, mindfulness helps us be aware of the present moment, which is actually a very peaceful place, when not clouded by thoughts. Mindfulness is revealing, calming and helpful.”
In this charming set of books, the animals in the forest know that Master Owl will always have just the right words to help them if they are feeling lost, sad, or overwhelmed because he lives quietly and peacefully in each moment, without worrying about what’s happened or what’s to come. He passes his lessons onto his friends with easy-to-follow instructions that help them see things more clearly. Beautiful illustrations, that children and parents will love, fill the pages along with the magical story that is ideal for helping little minds unwind at the end of the day.
Useful mindfulness practices for children
Through Master Owl’s teachings each book introduces core mindfulness practices:
a) circle breathing and noticing the breath coming in and out of our bodies.
b) noticing our bodies, what is around us, how we are feeling in the moment
c) noticing the sounds around us
The books encourage both parents and children to try the techniques themselves, thereby creating positive habits that can be nurtured over time. This creates a special moment of bonding and a shared experience that can be repeated whenever they need some time to re-centre during the day, truly a gift that keeps on giving!
Before writing children’s books and teaching mindfulness, author Rob Holmes was the co-creator of the Grobag safe sleep brand and the inventor of the best-selling Gro-Clock sleep trainer. Since exiting the business in 2015, Rob has published 3 children’s books, visited over 55 primary schools in Devon, reading his Master Owl stories and teaching the basics of mindfulness to over 13,000 children.
So far there are two Master Owl books to choose from; Master Owl meets Miss Bunny picture book for 3-6 year olds and The Mindful Adventures of Master Owl chapter book for 7-11 year olds. The stories are written in such a way that they help to teach the basic principles of mindfulness in a way that is easy to understand and put into practice.