Mindfulness for happier families
Catherine has experienced both the stresses and joys of bringing up a family, as a parent with two sons. One of the major benefits from mindfulness practice is it helps us navigate the choppy waters of living with teenagers! We can learn to recover quicker from stormy moments of family life, and savour the special moments too.
Meditation for parents can be a fantastic support for a calm family life - to manage stress, relax and develop healthy habits. In Catherine's mindfulness blog posts you'll find meditations for kids, including meditation scripts you can read to younger children. You can find help for teens with stress and sleep difficulties towards the end of this article.
If you’ve no time to read much, you might simply pop across to our blog post about feeling too busy to be mindful. Or try a 3 minute Breathing Space meditation. You don't need to sit and meditate for a long period of time to feel its benefits.
Mindfulness for resilience
Mindfulness means paying attention to what’s happening in the moment and accepting experiences and feelings without judgment. In difficult times, incorporating mindful practices into our daily routine can help calm anxiety and build resilience. Especially if there are times when your children are unhappy or your teenagers seem difficult.
Our thoughts can rapidly (and repeatedly) lead us to worry about the future for our children. Learning to manage difficult thoughts and emotions is one of the things stressed parents most appreciate from mindfulness training, and it can help us calm down when stressed.
Putting ourselves first
Mindfulness is all about compassion and we sometimes need to give ourselves a pat on the back. Whatever you’re doing, it’s your best. Give yourself a break and accept that you can't be a perfect parent all of the time. Remember the instruction on airplanes? In an emergency, we put on own own oxygen masks before attending to children. So to nurture a happier family, put yourself first. You can find more mindfulness tips for parents in one of our recent blogs.
How to be more relaxed
It's important to make time to recharge your batteries. Setting time aside each day to practise mindful activities is a great place to start, even if you don’t always stick to it.
Could you set your alarm a little earlier? Getting up before everyone else is awake might be the best time for you to ground yourself. Morning mindfulness can help set the tone for the day. This could be deep breathing, meditation, exercise - whichever mindfulness activity works for you. You can even try mindful eating or drinking with a hot drink. All you need to do is:
- Sit, turn off your devices, take a breath and be in the moment, as best you can.
- Notice colours and tastes.
- Notice any thoughts that pop up, and see if you can let them go, come back to savouring your food or what you’re drinking. Explore it with curiosity.
5 minute meditation
Little and often is better than not at all. Take just five or ten minutes in the middle of the day and it'll make a big difference to your afternoon - and to your children too. Maybe consider a drop-in mindfulness practice group or a stress management course to learn mindfulness techniques for happier family lives.
From Catherine's teaching history, she has a good understanding of the stresses that children face, as well as challenges for parents. She has worked a lot with teenagers and developed a range of mindfulness activities for teens. If you'd like to know more mindfulness in schools, take a look at our Schools page.
Meditation for families
Setting time to practise mindful activities as a family can help everyone feel more relaxed and happier. It could be a family yoga session, or a walk, taking time to focus on the way the air feels, the sounds and smells - practising noting our experience without being judgmental. Catherine has included other mindfulness tips for children (KS2), including a fun glitter jar activity with a guided meditation script you can read to your child.
Holiday courses for kids
Drama and mindfulness
As a drama teacher, Catherine has combined her two areas of expertise to create Healthy Minds holiday courses for 9-18 year-olds. The course includes mindfulness activities for kids and teens, teaching ways to cope with emotions and stressful situations, whilst having fun and developing confidence. There are many benefits of mindfulness for children; the timing of the course is great for children about to start a new school or waiting for exam results. The Healthy Minds course ends with an informal performance to families where students share what they have learned.
Catherine is teaching this course in schools in the Autumn term, 2021, and will offer a public course in the Easter holidays, 2022.
Exact dates to be confirmed, but probable times as follows:
10.00am-12.00pm: 9-12 year-olds.
Brockham, Betchworth or Dorking, Surrey
£29 (three sessions)
Discounts available for siblings and those on low incomes
Healthy Minds half term course for children
The half term course is for children aged between 9 and 12. The next one will be in the February half term, 2022. There will be three sessions a few days apart (dates and times to be confirmed). The course includes simple activities that children can do at home to feel more relaxed or for help with sleep. The sessions can help everyone relax and learn more about how our minds work. Visit the mindfulness blog to read more about glitter jars - a fun and cheap activity, and a great way to calm busy minds.
Children's mindfulness meditation
Cosmic Kids Yoga has lots of delightful short videos on YouTube.
Mindfulness activities for teens
Guided meditations to help teens with sleep
MiSP introduction to mindfulness to help teens with stress
Mindfulness tips from a 9-year old
Catherine was pleased to hear her niece was learning mindfulness meditation at school during lockdown, to help children learn how to calm down, relax, and be more resilient. We're grateful she was happy to share her lovely meditation poster with mindfulness tips for dealing with stress.