mindfulness: 8 Articles

Strategies for a Mindful Holiday During the Pandemic

The holidays can be hectic and stressful, even under the best of circumstances. But this year, due to the pandemic, many of our favorite holiday experiences may be different or put on hold. Concerts, performances, and big celebrations will likely be cancelled. Large family gatherings may be impossible. Shopping for gifts may have to happen online. You can still make the holidays special by slowing down and savoring the beauty and meaning of the season. This revised post from 2018 about creating a mindful holiday with your family provides pandemic-appropriate strategies to encourage your child to use their senses to notice what makes the season special, plus some Magination Press titles that may be helpful. You can give your family the gift of calm this holiday season by practicing mindfulness together. A silver lining of the pandemic’s change of plans is that it allows you more time to notice the beauty of the season. You don’t need to sit silently and meditate; you just need to slow down and be in the moment. You can model holiday mindfulness for your child by putting down your phone and other electronics and being present for each experience. Encourage your children to focus on their five senses and their hearts throughout the season. Here are some ideas to bring mindfulness to many common holiday activities and tasks: Concerts, plays, and other performances: These events will happen differently this year. Seek out favorite or new musical, theatrical, or dance performances online or happening outdoors in a socially distanced way. However they happen, these events are a feast for the eyes and ears. Encourage your child to watch and listen carefully. Ask them to think about how watching and listening to the performers makes them feel. At intermissions and afterward, talk about what each of you found the most beautiful, surprising, funny, or sad during the performance. Even if you don’t see a holiday performance, your family can create one of your own, singing favorite holiday songs or acting out favorite stories. Magination Press books Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music by Michael Genhart and My Singing Nana by Pat Mora explore how families enjoying music together can bring a family together. Decorations: Even if you don’t decorate your home for the holidays, you’ll be surrounded by decorations in your community. The sights, sounds, and smells can be captivating. Lights are a big part of many winter holidays, whether they are candles, twinkling lights on trees, or big displays. Talk with your child about lights as you see them or as you light candles. Why do they think lights are such an important part of many winter holiday celebrations? How do the lights make them feel? What are their favorite kinds of lights?   Share your tradition’s stories about the role of lights. Many of our holiday decorations have a distinctive scent: pine, melted wax, spices (think Gingerbread houses or clove and orange pomanders). Even fire in the fireplace–not necessarily a holiday thing, but

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Strategies for a Mindful Holiday During the Pandemic 2020-12-03T11:08:17-05:00

Making The Find Out Files My Anger: Interview With the Authors

Magination Press’s new series of activity books, The Find Out Files, help kids explore emotions and relationships. Magination Press interviewed authors, Isabelle Filliozat and Virginie Limousin, about creating My Anger, one of the books in The Find Out Files. Magination Press: In another Find Out Files book, My Emotions, you identified seven different emotions to explore. Why did you decide to write a whole book about anger? Isabelle Filliozat: We wanted one on each and every emotion. Anger was the first, because it’s the first thing parents are concerned about and we wanted to arm parents with empathy rather than unhelpful responses when their child gets angry or has a tantrum. People tend to have a moral judgement about anger, because many confuse it with violence or a power play.  Virginie Limousin:  Children are immature and often respond with tantrums that are often misinterpreted by adults, who may respond clumsily. Parents may find themselves overwhelmed by their own emotional reactions. So this book provides parents with an understanding of anger (provides a certain emotional literacy to anger). The idea of the activity book is both simple explanations of anger—this natural physiological reaction of our body—and easy techniques for children to tame this emotion while allowing them to express it because it is very useful in our lives. MP: Why did you choose Parrot to be the animal guide for My Anger? VL & IF: There is the parrot and the professor Angrius to give information. The parrot is coming from the air, he is non judgemental. Professor Angrius (Colérius) is the main guide throughout the find out file. He is small and has hair like Einstein’s and wears large glasses to suggest he has read books and knows a lot. The parrot is one of his collaborators.  The parrot has worked with him for so long that he can repeat everything the Professor has discovered during his research ;-) MP: Tell us about the oxygen cloud elevator tool. What inspired it?  VL: Anger is an emotion that can be difficult to regulate. Sometimes it makes us want to hit, throw, or scream. Focusing a few moments on our breathing allows us to oxygenate our brain and not react impulsively. An emotion is like a cloud passing in the sky, it is temporary. And just as we contemplate the clouds, we need to be able to observe our emotion to understand what they are telling us.  MP: You include lots of activities in the book: crafts, quizzes, drawing opportunities. Why did you incorporate stickers in all The Find Out Files books? IF: We wanted to get children as active as possible and offer them fun tools. Children learn when they are enthusiastic and feel in control of their learning. Most children love stickers. And those are colorful and fun. We wanted children to be able to associate anger with love, colors, and fun, so that they stop thinking it is a bad emotion and can make friends with it. What

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Making The Find Out Files My Anger: Interview With the Authors 2020-09-22T17:32:54-04:00

Exploring Feelings with Mindfulness

The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has everyone feeling a wide mix of feelings: anxiety, boredom, grief, confusion, frustration, and loneliness to name a few. Helping children recognize and identify their feelings is an important life skill that will be useful long after the pandemic is over. This repost from April 2018 from Magination Press author Lauren Rubenstein, JD, PsyD, explores how we can use mindfulness to examine emotions in a calm, thoughtful way. Take a minute right now to pay attention to what’s going on around you. What do you hear or see? Do you notice anything new? Now, turn your attention inward. What are you thinking, and how do you feel? Mindfulness—as you just experienced—is tuning into yourself and paying attention to the present moment without judging or analyzing what you are thinking or feeling. Although it seems quite simple, it is not easy. Our busy minds are constantly darting and drifting, telling stories about what has happened in the past and what might happen in the future. For children and teenagers, mindfulness is a powerful tool that can enhance many aspects of well-being. As parents and professionals, we can encourage children to be mindful, to cultivate emotional intelligence through their senses, and to reflect on what they learn. Linking Mindfulness and Emotions In order to connect mindfulness to our emotions, we can use the idea of “visiting” our feelings. We can encourage children and teenagers to sense, explore, and befriend all of their feelings with acceptance and equanimity. Emotions and feelings are neither good nor bad, neither acceptable nor unacceptable. Rather, they are simply present-moment experiences of felt sensations. Instead of trying to suppress or undo feelings, we invite children to explore their feelings with their senses and even converse with them. Awareness of how feelings can lodge in the body, as conveyed by common expressions like “a pit in the stomach” or “a lump in the throat” is a form of emotional intelligence. This awareness helps children and teenagers handle any feelings that may arise with equanimity. It also helps them mindfully gain sensitivity to their bodies as rich kaleidoscopes of information. They can cultivate this emotional intelligence through their senses by learning to explore the range of emotions they encounter within themselves on a daily basis. Encouraging Mindfulness Mindfulness can take many forms. Physical practice includes yoga, tai chi, martial arts, and even mindful walking. In fact, any activity can be done mindfully—for example, brushing your teeth, putting on your socks, or practicing the piano. There are many simple exercises you can do at home to help teach your child to be mindful. Reflection activities can be introduced seamlessly into your family routine. Remember: “Short times, many times” is ideal, both in terms of cultivating a mindful brain and fitting practice into busy schedules. For example, before a family meal, have each person at the table name three things they are grateful for. Discuss where the food came from and express gratitude for

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Exploring Feelings with Mindfulness 2020-05-12T23:05:04-04:00