The wellbeing and mental health of young children has always been at the heart of everything Captain Fantastic do. They believe that creating well-balanced and healthy children who can learn to manage their emotions is equally as important to getting good grades, if not more. Their aim is to help every child to live a happy and well-balanced life.
Captain Fantastic believe that by teaching and encouraging mindfulness from a young age, we can all help children to understand and manage their emotions from early on.
Here are some top tips on how you can teach your children to understand and practice important concepts such as mindfulness, confidence, patience and kindness:
We always want children to focus, but rarely show them how. By bringing attention to the self and slowing down is the best way to get ready for the task at hand. It's about stepping back and planning how to complete a task rather than rushing in.
Putting it in to practice - An exercise to try with your children:
- With your child, breath in and breath out silently five times. Each time asking the child to empty their brain / mind.
- Breath in and breath out blowing a raspberry
- Breath in and breath out and give a roar.
- Ask how that makes the child feel, has it helped them to clear their mind and focus?
If you can feel yourself getting in a slump what do you do? Without real awareness of our feelings, we can do nothing, and our worries can grow. Encourage your children to be aware of their feelings and make sure there is a safe environment for them to talk about their problems openly. Mindfulness is all about being aware of your emotions so that you are able to manage them, rather than control them. Practising mindfulness increases attention, empathy and can reduce stress. It also helps with planning, organising, and goal setting.
Putting it in to practice – Have a mindful moment:
- Ask your child to get comfortable and close their eyes (a quiet room with low lights and no distractions is ideal)
- While they’ve got their eyes closed, as them to listen to things they didn't hear before
- Tell them to focus on their breath, counting each one as they pass
- Ask them to picture their favourite place, ask how it feels
- Encourage them to describe it, and let that feeling fill their body
- Talk to them afterwards and ask them how it made them feel
With smartphones and the instant gratification that the modern world gives us, it is important to understand that all good things come to those that wait. Perseverance is the key to success and we want children to be resilient, patient and focussed. To help clear their minds, like we do as adults, children need to learn to switch off, take time out and sit still ‘in the moment’.
Putting it in to practice – Arts and Crafts:
Teach your child patience, and encourage them to have quiet (but constructive!) time, by setting them an arts and craft challenge. This can be the perfect way to encourage mindfulness, focus and patience as you can concentrate and create together, to work on completing the task at hand. By giving them something which takes time to create, but gives them a sense of achievement and accomplishment when it is complete, you will help them to see what can be achieved with some patience and focus.
With more tests / exams and pressure on our children, it’s no surprise that the NHS reports show that 1 in 8 British children have mental disorders. That's why it's important to have perspective on the bigger picture; being an all-round good person is far more important than grades. Encourage your child to practice kindness and be aware of how they feel when they are kind to others.
Putting it in to practice – Practice Kindness:
- At the begin of the day tell them to give out lots of compliments and ask them to keep a mental note of when they do.
- At the end of the day ask how many they gave and how it made them feel and how it made others feel.
Self-belief, Self-control and confidence
These three attributes are very closely connected and can be practised together. By encouraging children to have self-control and believe in themselves, we can give them the confidence they need to succeed. What you believe in, empowers you. So why not believe in yourself? And get your children to do the same!
Putting it in to practice – Demonstrate your self-belief and confidence, and encourage theirs:
- Show your children that it’s okay be themselves, and even to let go in front of people, and not to worry what people think. Get up and sing karaoke in front of them – or others - or do something you’d find equally as embarrassing! The best way to empower your children is by demonstrating your own self-belief and confidence.
- Encourage your child’s own confidence with simple tasks, these could be getting them to ask the waiter in a restaurant a question, or ordering their own food. Or even going on a big slide they may have been previously intimidated by.
- Hobbies: Encouraging your children to have hobbies is a great way for them to learn and exercise self-control and also gain confidence. Showing them that having a hobby at the start is tough, learning something new can be challenging. But that it can also be fun and over time gets better and rewarding. Teach them not to give up at the first hurdle, to believe in themselves and to have the confidence to keep trying
- Explain to them that even parents struggle, but it’s not 'where you start' that’s important, its 'the journey and where you finish'.
Captain Fantastic have launched Feeling Fantastic – Mindfulness, Wellbeing and Resilience classes, workshops and parties designed specifically for KS1 and KS2 children, to help them understand their feelings and develop life skills to manage their emotions.
As the leading specialists in children’s entertainment, Captain Fantastic are able to explore the concepts above in an easy and fun way, which children can engage with and understand, through the use of magic, games including Captain Fantastic’s compliment circle, a fun guided 'Mindful Moment’, Superhero Yoga, mindful magic tricks and much more.
Each Feeling Fantastic class starts with a mindful moment, body scan and a stretch to focus and engage the children’s attention. The session’s special topic is then introduced, followed by a number of team exercises, active games, magic tricks and tasks. The children are then brought together to discuss what they have learnt and how they can continue to put these skills into practice. The session is finished by bringing out the ‘Aspiration box’, where every child puts inside something they want to aspire to do or achieve that week.
For more information about Feeling Fantastic, visit www.captain-fantastic.co.uk/wellbeing.
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