Following the success of Wellbeing Week we have tried at Grimsdell to consider ways in which we can retain some of the really popular moments within the fabric of Grimsdell life. One such activity was the morning ‘parent and child’ mindfulness club. This was a fantastic opportunity for parents and children to find a moment of peace and calm together at the start of their day. Too often mornings are fraught with getting ready for school, feeding the cat, finding coats, eating breakfast and so forth. Many families find this time either chaotic or alternatively like a military operation. Starting the day with a mindful session together removes or alleviates some of that stress.
The popularity of this activity far exceeded our expectations, so parents obviously do feel the strain. We have responded by making this a permanent feature of our offer every Friday morning. The sessions are led by a member of our teaching staff who has achieved her initial mindfulness in schools qualification. The simple meditation exercises they will do in the club can also easily be done at home and we hope that the club itself will therefore promote mindful practice within our families in general, but every individual is different so there are no rules about what children or parents take away from the sessions. The club will also be an opportunity to talk openly and respectfully about emotions, encouraging children and their parents to have an accepting and empathetic dialogue about their feelings – with themselves and others.
Two of our children, Lexi and Layla, have described one of the meditation exercises in the following way:
The petal meditation:
‘’First we put our hands on our knees open like a flower. Then when you breathe in, you close your fingers like the petals on a flower. When you breathe out, your fingers open. Try this for 5 breaths.’’
The other meditation was described by Dylan as:
The Blowing out your worries meditation:
‘’First you put your hand just in front of your mouth. Breathe in, think about your worry and hold your breath for 2 seconds and then you breathe out, blowing your worries away, moving your hand away from your mouth.’’
These simple exercises are perfect for trying out with children if they find themselves upset or anxious. Hopefully one strategy leads to another and our children will grow up with many ways to cope with the ups and downs of life.