NBC recently published some videos in which they spoke to experts about how to teach mindfulness to kids in elementary school.
The show looked at everything from mindfulness exercises for kids, to Tibetan Singing Bowls and tai chi.
Dr. Maurice Olfus, Author and Tai Chi Champion, spoke to NBC, Wednesday, about the benefits of Tai Chi for kids.
“One of the benefits of [tai chi for kids] is helping them to relax. When a child comes into a school environment they may be impacted by adverse childgood experiences, which means they might have some practice that might make them be bullies, for example, that’s a byproduct of that. So, we want to create a relaxing environment for them.”
There are numerous ways in which Dr. Olfus suggests teaching kids mindfulness. He spoke about a combination of mindful movement exercises like tai chi, the use of sound healing instruments like singing bowls, and breathing exercises.
“We teach kids to breathe using various tools such as Self Sensory Stimulation Activities. We notice that when we use these types of tools it helps to raise oxytocin—a hormone that makes us happy. So, when we teach a child to do that it raises [that hormone], helps them be happy and makes them less disruptive. That’s it in a nutshell.”
Dr. Olfus showed the use of a Tibetan Singing Bowl to raise oxytocin levels. “Once they get into it, they listen to the noise and it calms them down. We do this before we get into the actual tai chi movements.”
Dr. Olfus explained how when we use a Tibetan Singing Bowl we should be mindful of the movement of the hand when playing the instruments. He also said that you can see how stressed a person is by the way they play the bowls, because you have to be relaxed to play the bowls correctly.
One of the co-hosts then used the bowl herself. It made a less smooth sound. “I’m too high-strung,” she said.
In a later video on Wednesday, NBC spoke to Kara Lamb [Reading Intervention Teacher at Lincoln Elementary School] about how to teach mindfulness at school. Lamb stated that many adults understand the benefits of mindfulness for themselves but have yet to release the benefits of mindfulness for kids.
At Lincoln Elementary School, kids practice daily mindfulness exercises like breathing techniques. Teachers at the school use colours and other visualise to show kids when different emotions look like. “We do this from kindergarten through fifth grade,” said Lamb. “We’ve seen dramatic differences in student behaviour,” she said. She stated that parents can also help kids to be mindful. The key is being in the moment.”
Mindfulness in sweeping the nation by storm, and one of the places where mindfulness is needed most is in the classroom. By teaching kids mindfulness we give them the tools they need to manage their emotions and to improve their behaviour in the classroom and at home.
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