Such excitement around the end of the school year – bring on summer! I can’t wait for slower starts to the morning, eating dinner outside, swimming/hiking/biking, and hopefully enjoying some unstructured time! The amount of things, small and large, that happen in schools between returning from April vacation and ending the year is staggering – just managing the schedules, gifts, bake sales, field trips, rehearsals/practices and performances/games in this six-week period earns parents and caregivers a summer vacation!
The concept and practice of mindfulness comes up everywhere these days – I attended a really interesting session on it at the Vermont Library Conference, CLiF funded a mindfulness unit for kindergarten in a Year of the Book school, research shows incredible benefits of giving kids yoga class rather than detention, and mindfulness is a multi-billion dollar market. I love yoga, but no commitment to meditation until I went to my daughter’s yearly wellness visit.
After regular medical check in, her pediatrician asked her about how she manages stress – what a reality check that this is a necessary question for 11-year-olds! The doctor cited a long-term study that showed the cognitive benefits of a regular meditation practice. I miss the days of reading together before bed. Now we read at the same time and are quiet together, and while there is still sharing, there is less closeness. We discussed trying meditation together – I did some research on reliable apps, she found one on her school iPad – we were off.
It worked nicely – I let her pick the meditation and afterwards we discussed how we felt. When the iPad was at school, we used YouTube; it did open up some conversations, particularly over the loving kindness meditation.
I don’t think our summer will include a meditation retreat, but I am happy to have another tool to build connections, memories, good habits, and conversation, and isn’t that what we all hope for over the summer!?!