The Infinity School aims at encouraging kids to learn, unlearn and relearn by thinking, exploring, questioning and challenging themselves.
Growing up is a challenge for children. Some cannot stay alone for a long time. A majority of kids indulge in multiple activities, as they get bored very quickly. Few have a fleeting attention span and easily drift away from the reality. Many toddlers repeat the same mistakes despite being corrected multiple times.
Although young minds are alert to what’s happening around, yet they are often unaware of their actions or do not acknowledge certain things. That is when we label them ‘stupid’, ‘inattentive’, ‘slow learners, ’ ‘tube light,’ ‘problem child’ etc.; oblivious of their mental space and their capacity to think.
We experienced the same as children. Our minds often drifted away from the classroom and were occupied with random abstract imaginations, thoughts of play or an unsure future. Sometimes, we couldn’t solve a complex equation due to inattentiveness in class, but our teachers assumed, we were inattentive or had a poor IQ.
Many times, children are labeled as ‘fussy eaters’ and ‘difficult’ especially when they don’t want to eat greens. In retrospect, do they know or remember the taste of vegetables or can they differentiate the food experience? Maybe not if they are busy watching television or in any other side activity during their mealtime.
Likewise, even we didn’t know why we were apprehensive to certain things in our childhood, like trying a new activity or following multiple instructions at once. Now, we know it is because of the inability to get involved in the present without being overwhelmed or overly reactive.
Luckily, these issues can be rectified with the practice of mindfulness in kids over 5 years of age.
It is the practice of programming our brains to be fully awake—aware of and hitched to our feelings, thoughts, sensations and the surrounding phenomenon. It helps us focus our energies on a task at hand and instantly snaps us back to the reality, no matter how far we sail from it.
Why Is Mindfulness An Important Trait For Children?
- It develops resilience through emotional development, which enables children to overcome anxiety, depression, and ADHD. They can rewire their brains to reduce stress by learning what and how to think.
- In the lightning-fast world, it’s easier to get distracted. Cognizance teaches kids to practice patience, as and when they need it.
- Some kids tend to lose awareness of their bodily sensations. However, children, who are aware of their physical self, act in a purposeful manner.
How To Inculcate Awareness In Kids
- Reassuring kids to focus on positive sensations.
Developing consciousness in children is extremely rewarding, but challenging because they start exerting independence as they gain control of their bodies. When your child accidentally scratches his/her knees on the playground, try directing their thoughts from upsetting sensations to pleasant feelings they experience with playmates.
The more you expose him/her to positive inner experiences, the more insights they get to choose appropriate responses in different scenarios. The idea is not to pretend those bad things don’t occur, but to accept them and find a solution in the taxing situations.
- Encouraging observation skills in students.
We can transform observations into meaningful observations, as kids start exploring new experiences around them. If your child eats at an excruciatingly fast pace and needs constant reminders to slow down, teach him/her to enjoy the delectable aromas and flavors. It activates their senses and incites curiosity.
Indulging little ones in such activities develops a better understanding of sensations.
- Encouraging kids to practice.
Schools play a vital role in teaching skills that kids may use in the future. They create opportunities for practicing a positive approach in stressful situations through storytelling, drawing, self-reflection, etc.
Teachers and counselors show them how to cope with bitterness and gloom using deep-breathing exercises, yoga and demonstrations (Ah, I’m feeling sad. Let me just take a quick walk. Okay, now I feel okay). Children may not understand complicated words, but they mimic actions. Institutions use these traits to teach kids values like sharing, forgiveness, etc.
- Enhancing the understanding of self and the world.
Social conditioning can be a challenge when it comes to teenagers (13-17 years) who must understand themselves before venturing outside.
Adopting a mindful approach in conversations and reactions, when dealing with teens, relieves stress. Direct conversation with teens ends resistance and frustration.
It enables kids to focus on their main purpose without clinging on to negative experiences or chasing after others’ accomplishments.
Despite being alert and aware, the challenges of growing up will remain. As children grow and change, so will their mind and reactions. As adults, we must be understanding and patient towards kids who are in process of developing awareness. Sometimes it’s difficult for the parents to practice this quality, especially when they’re employed. This is where schools come into play.
Mindfulness doesn’t just come to students overnight. It is cultivated over a lifetime, with awareness, acknowledgment, compassion, meditation, and self-reflection. Some schools have imbibed this knowledge in developing growth-oriented pedagogy, thinking curriculum and meditation classes. They believe such measures would enhance the learning abilities and academic performance of their students with personalized intervention and appropriate student-teacher ratio.
Is your kid mindful (aware) or mind full (full of random ideas and thoughts)? Is s/he really learning at school? Tell us what you think!