A few month ago, just before summer, a few parents showed interest in me teaching mindfulness to their children during the summer 2021. Although I was looking forward to 2 months “off” (off teaching, but working on my business), I wasn’t going to let a few children who needed help be on their own. So I said Yes!
Teaching a 7yo boy and his dad
I taught a sweet 7 year old boy. He is very smart, knew a lot of the things already, but attention is not his forte. We can’t be great at everything. It was a pleasure to help him discover some new mindfulness tricks. The best part was to see him do it with his dad. I taught them both together. It was very sweet to see them send each other genuine kind thoughts as a kindness practice. I felt a bit embarrassed it was so touching. I feel lucky being a witness of this moment.
One day he showed up with a sore back and didn’t sleep well. So I decided to help him with it before I could even think about the planned session. We can’t learn anything if we’re in pain anyway, so might as well take this opportunity to see how mindfulness can help. I told him to make himself comfortable, so he laid down. We went through a few things. I reminded him that his amygdala was probably “ON” right now because pain doesn’t make us feel safe. We did a few mindful breaths. Then I asked his dad to place his hand on his back to show how much he cares. I also asked him to notice the pain for a second, but also to notice another part of the body that doesn’t hurt. Most of the time we focus on the part that hurts while it’s only a small part of the body. The rest of the body doesn’t hurt. We went on and on for about 10 minutes. And all of a sudden he got up and said excitingly “it doesn’t hurt anymore! it’s gone!”. I was so amazed by how quickly it happened! And he did it all by himself! I had tears in my eyes, I was so happy for him and so happy to see that it worked, even (or especially) for kids! (That’s how emotional I am, on both sides of the spectrum.) This was definitely a victory and that’s what keeps me going.
I feel lucky because I saw him last week in person for our last session together. It was fun to see him for real, he was maybe a little taller than I imagined 😉 We both enjoyed ice cream to celebrate!
Summer mindfulness for teens
I also taught two 13 year old boys. One was showing some anxiety and difficulty falling asleep. The other one was in to improve focus and concentration.
We did almost 16 sessions within 6 weeks, since school was starting again near the end.
I could tell they were both very interested and aware of their issues and wanted to learn. They did get distracted with the custom background when we did the sessions on Zoom. So we switched to in person but then we had to do one-hour sessions since we decided I’d teach them at one of their home. I realized how distracted we can get: candies in the pocket, cellphones… even just the need to move our body.
At the end though, they both could see improvement.
One of them goes to bed at 9:30pm and used to not be able to fall asleep until 1 or 2am. But after just 6 weeks of mindfulness, he noticed he can now fall asleep around 11:30pm, there’s still a little bit to go, but that’s a big win! He’s had issues falling asleep since he was 5 years old 🙁 I feel so bad for him and all children who have trouble falling asleep. Ringing the chime before bed, and noticing his breath is what’s helping him.
The other teenager could early on notice his anger, even if it was after the fact it’s still a win. Becoming aware can take time so we need to be patient with ourselves. It’s years of auto-pilot that we need to change and re-wire.
I kept encouraging them. I hope they will keep using these mindfulness tools at school now that they started school.