‘The department of Education Victoria has put together some great resources, for parents of primary-school children, to help look after their child’s wellbeing.’ More information can be found on their website: https://www.education.vic.gov.au/parents/family-health/Pages/your-childs-wellbeing.aspx
Good Afternoon Families,
For this first ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ (remote learning 2.0) I thought I would provide some information about ‘Mindfulness’ and the Smiling Mind Education Program. This is a program that we are beginning to introduce to students this year. It provides a framework and tools to support students, from prep to year 6, with positive mental health and wellbeing strategies and aligns with the Australian Curriculum- Personal and Social Capabilities.
What is Mindfulness?
‘Mindfulness’ means paying attention to the present moment. It is a whole body state of awareness that involves tuning in to the present moment with openness and curiosity. It is about focusing on the here and now, rather than getting caught up in thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
What is Smiling Mind?
-Smiling Mind is a unique web and app-based program developed by psychologists and educators to make mindfulness and meditation accessible for all.
-It includes short meditations (usually less than 10minutes long) designed for children of different ages and adults.
What are the benefits for my child?
- Research shows that mindfulness training increases connectivity in the frontal lobe of the brain, which is linked to improved attention, memory processing and decision making abilities.
- Mindfulness meditation is one of the most effective ways of teaching us to pay attention.
- Mindfulness training increases children’s ability to self-regulate their emotions, especially difficult emotions such as fear and anger, through increased self-awareness, social awareness, breathing and other grounding techniques.
- Mindfulness has been shown to improve empathy, reduce stress, increase resilience and assist in lowering the risk of mental health issues.
Mindfulness at home:
The best thing parents can do to help their children become more mindful is to commit to some regular mindfulness practices themselves! Research shows that parents and carers who practice being mindful around their children contribute to improving their child’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
Students in Grades 3-6 will be directed to the Smiling Minds website/app during remote home learning. We would like these students and/or families to please set up a free account for Smiling Minds. You can access Smiling Mind for FREE by creating an account at http://smilingmind.com.au/ or downloading the app.
Personally, I have introduced smiling mind meditations into my children’s bedtime routine and have seen the benefits in relation to how quickly they settle for sleep. I encourage you to give it a try!
You could also try some of the following activities:
- Mindful cooking: Cooking together can be a great way to spend quality time. Help your child notice the colours, smell and taste of the ingredients as you add them to the meal, and the touch of the different items as you cook.
- Mindful dinnertime: Create a time for your family to appreciate and savour their food at the start of a meal by spending the first few minutes of dinner in silence, just eating and enjoying the food. It’s a surprisingly nice activity to do with the whole family, and done regularly, can become a lovely ritual.
- Mindful teeth brushing: Getting kids to brush their teeth can be a challenge, so why not make it a challenge, by inviting them to try to do it mindfully with you? Invite them to pay attention to the feel of the brush in their mouth and the sensation and taste of the toothpaste. Ask them three things they noticed that was different about their brushing tonight than from the previous night.
Resources and other handy articles:
Smiling Mind ‘The Mindful Curriculum-Manual for Educators’ (2018) Edition1.
Caningerabass State School News-Caningerabass.eq.edu.au
Winters Flat News: https://www.winters-flat-ps.vic.edu.au/mindfulness
Smiling Mind Parents Guide: