Counselor's Corner

October Notes from Your Counselor.......................................Gloria Silverberg

Mindfulness is present-moment awareness, meaning living in the present moment without judging or  ignoring anything or worrying about the pressures of everyday life. In these stressful and demanding times, Mindfulness exercises serve to provide physical and mental calm for parents and children. 

Mindfulness exercises can help children with low self-esteem or feelings of insecurity , as well as managing impulsivity.  It can help when children become trapped in negative behavior patterns  that are not serving them well.  Mindfulness is not a form of therapy, but it can be therapeutic in giving children a more effective approach in handling their real issues. 

At Luxmanor, I am using Mindfulness as a part of our Restorative Circles, where we build community and problem solve in a positive, restorative way.

How to use Mindfulness Exercises?

  1. Mindfully exercise regularly at specific times.
  2. Keep the exercises playful and lighthearted.
  3. Repeat the exercises from time to time throughout the week.
  4. Be patient.
  5. Encourage your child when they are practicing.
  6. Let your child describe their experiences after completing their Mindfulness exercises. Remember there is no right or wrong!
  7. Make Mindfulness part of your daily family practice!

Mindfulness  provides a lifelong foundation for self-confidence. There are 3 basic qualities that can help with parenting responsibilities : presence, understanding, and acceptance

Presence enables you to be simply here, in contact with this moment . This means being present with feelings and thoughts and without an immediate opinion.

Understanding enables you to empathize with your child, and seeing things from your child's perspective.   Genuine interest in what is happening in your child's inner life can guide you in understanding what your child needs from you.

Acceptance is your willingness to recognize and accept your child's thoughts and feelings without wanting to change them or rejecting them . Acceptance does not mean "putting up with everything."  It is the realization that as a parent you do not need to have an opinion on the feelings, thoughts and actions of either your child or yourself.  Practicing acceptance will provide you with opportunities to open your heart with mindfulness.

Mindfulness Exercises from Eline Snel's book on Mindfulness, Sitting Still Like a Frog:

1.Mindful Breathing

Your breath can tell you lots of things, such as whether you are tense, calm, or restless.  As you become more aware of your breathing, you also become more aware of your inner world and it is the first step toward developing concentration.

For children, practicing with the attention of a frog is a way of focusing on their breathing. Find a quiet place where no one will disturb you. "A frog is a remarkable creature. It is capable of enormous leaps, but it can also sit very, very still. Although it is aware of everything that happens in and around it, the frog tends not to react right away. The frog sits still and breathes, preserving its energy instead of getting carried away by all the ideas that keep popping into its head. The frog sits still, while it breathes. Its frog tummy rises a bit and falls again. It rises and falls. Anything a frog can do, you can do too. All you need is mindful attention. Attention to the breath. Attention and peace and quiet."

2. This is another fun exercise to do on your way to school or anywhere:  try to remember 5 things that you see.  What do they look like? You can train yourself to see more and more properties of the tree or the traffic sign, such as colors, spots and stripes.  By looking without judging whether something is pretty or ugly, you will see more of the world around you.

3. And for older kids: Pick up a twig and draw it on a piece of paper. Draw exactly what you see and not what you think you are seeing.  Do this for a couple of days in a row and you will begin to see more and more of the twig while the drawing is becoming more and more accurate.

4 . Listening . Have everyone talk for 2 minutes about his day or to share an important experience, while the others listen without passing judgment.  Listening with a genuine desire to hear and understand is absolutely validating.

5. Mindful Eating . Eat one attentive mouthful of food without making any comments.  Discuss what you smell, notice, taste, and feel in your mouth when you take a mindful bite, hold it in your mouth for a moment, and swallow.

Small Goups

Ms. Silverberg has begun to meet with students who signed up for Friendship and Banana Splits Groups. Due to the tremendous amount of children signed up this year, I will only be able to meet 2 to 3 times with each group.  I am happy to report that the children seem to love coming!

SGA News

Our SGA Board and Class Representatives are hard at work collecting canned and boxed food for our Montgomery County children who struggle with food insecurity.  In Maryland, 1 in 6 children struggle with food insecurity, which is equivalent to 220,000 hungry kids. The Food Drive is sponsored by Manna's Kids Helping Kids and runs October 1-27.

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