We live in a fast paced, constantly changing society with ever increasing demands on our time. Voicemails, e-mails and text messages demand our immediate attention. As everyone rushes just to keep up, our children are watching. All of that “rushing” limits our abilities to use one of our most powerful tools, the “pause”. What would happen if we took the time to think and reflect on our next course of action? Pausing can provide that moment of reflection, but to use it to its most beneficial advantage, a thoughtful approach must be employed.
A pause is defined as a temporary stop or rest, especially in either speech or action. That “pause” can lead to a practice known as “mindfulness”. When used with purpose, that “pause” can give us an opportunity to connect both our outer selves and our inner selves in a manner that increases our awareness of who we are and how to proceed. When we can recognize how our emotions interact with our physical bodies, then our thoughts can become more than “just thoughts”; those thoughts can guide us to a more connected way of taking action. By applying our understandings of ourselves, we can take that pause and use it effectively in our future actions.
Applying this type of reflective action is a process and kids benefit from some guidance to learn how to use the pause to its best advantage. Try these strategies: Keep it simple: Help kids to notice how their bodies feel Create multisensory opportunities: Introduce sounds to build sense awareness Introduce it as a routine: Choose a time of day to infuse a mindfulness routine Make walking a mindful opportunity: Use a walk to build mindfulness skills Emotional weather report: Using weather, as a metaphor, can help build emotional awareness
Teaching the power of the “pause” is a process, but when mastered, it can be applied for a lifetime.