Meditations for mini-monkey-minds worked for one little monkey
Life as a six-year-old makes for a busy brain. There’s running around. Scooting around. Jumping around. Growing and negotiating friendships. School, sports activities, parties... all of it bristling with new information, feelings, sights and sounds.
Not to mention negotiating with your parents about how much of your Hallowe’en sweetie haul you can eat without turning green. Or keeping your baby sister from smashing up your latest intricate Lego creation.
Meditation experts refer to the endless chatter in our brains as ‘monkey mind’. Sometimes the monkey goes into overdrive, especially for primary school age children! For my eldest, a short temper, being quick to tears or refusing to stay in bed after lights out are a sign that his monkey mind has gone into overdrive.
I’ve long used meditation as a way to help me through challenges, or just to slow my whirling brain down a notch or two.
When I am disciplined enough to do it, the benefits of sitting, non-judgementally, with myself for a few minutes each day are huge. When I’ve joined classes, many of us are bemused as to why no-one explained this useful tool to us earlier. Isn’t this a key life skill all kids should be taught at an early age?
So when Wee Seeds advertised for testers to try out the children’s mindfulness tools I was keen for us to be guinea pigs.
One thing I liked most about the exercises was the imaginative approach they take to tried and tested meditation techniques. The challenge of balancing on one leg in Balancing Buddies persuaded our boy to try out new ways of focusing on a single task. And it usefully echoed some of the skills he is learning in judo.
And we’ve probably all played the Noticing Game without realising – distracting our little ones from whinges by encouraging them to look at the environment around them. Clouds that look like animals, the changing colours of the leaves, a cat balancing on a wall… Wee Seeds encourages this kind of noticing on a regular basis as a way to stay present and appreciative.
Helping our wee lad manage his monkey mind is definitely a work in progress – as it is for people of any age. But life is all about the journey, right? And whatever twists and turns it takes, Wee Seeds is a fantastic tool to help children navigate it more confidently and contentedly.
Helen is Mum to two wonderful children, aged 6 and 2 years old.