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Introduction to Mindfulness

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What is mindfulness?

Webster’s dictionary defines it as the quality or state of being mindful; the practice of maintaining a non-judgemental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.

While a good explanation, this definition doesn’t capture the true essence of what we believe mindfulness is, especially in the context of caring for children.

Mindfulness is our ability to attend to the present moment, with curiosity and kindness. It is our ability to pause, assess what is happening right in front of us, and respond with clarity, as opposed to reacting based on our (often unhelpful) habitual patterns. It is a willingness to be present, and to allow what is here to be here… because it’s already here! Extensive research has been done on this topic, and the overwhelming conclusion is that we are happier when we are present.

The problem that we are facing today is that most people have not been exposed to these skills earlier in life, and therefore wish that they had learned about it sooner. Teaching mindfulness to children from a young age is an invaluable skill that will help them navigate the challenges of childhood and adolescence.

How can mindfulness be taught?

The question then becomes, ‘what actual techniques can we practice and teach to children to help them develop mindfulness?’ Mindfulness can be practiced in a lot of different ways – there is no catch-all method or solution to achieving it. The key message behind this practice is to live in the present more. There is a tendency among people to go about their day on ‘auto-pilot’. This can be changed by paying attention to the smaller things and letting yourself feel how each unique situation affects you. Another key principle is to focus on what you are experiencing and feeling. Too often people only focus on the external things in life, rather than turning inward and reflecting on how the external things make you feel.

Some key outcomes that can be learned through practicing mindfulness:

  • Non-judging: Become an impartial witness of your own attention
  • Patience: Give yourself the space to have whatever experience occurs
  • Trust: Trust yourself
  • Letting go: Not letting yourself get caught up by emotions

In conclusion…

These principles are vital to imprint onto children from as early as possible, to help prepare them for a life that will be filled with challenges and obstacles that will have to be confronted. By practicing mindfulness from an early age, future generations will be better prepared for dealing with those challenges without losing sight of what’s important.

Want to learn new techniques that will help to develop mindfulness in you and your child? Keep an eye on our Facebook page – We will continue to post articles and tips in the coming weeks!

 

References:

  1. Smegen, I. (2018). Mindful at School.
  2. Killingsworth, M; Gilbert, D. (2010). A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.

Preparing for a New Child

“I’m pregnant…”

Becoming a parent can be a frightening experience when you’re uncertain of what to expect. But it needn’t be with the right amount of preparation and enhancing your own knowledge. Having your new child will change your lifestyle beyond belief, but you will experience things like no other when getting to know your child! Having children is a natural process and you should not be afraid of it, in fact, embrace the challenge ahead.   Read more

Preparing for Your Child’s First Year of School

We are so very thankful for our wonderful Kindergarten class also known as our Poppies (4 – 5 years), who are moving to Prep in 2019. We have a few more weeks for healthy transitions to the new school, so we have put a quick list below to help you prepare for your child’s first year of school. Further information can be found on the Queensland Government Resource for Parents web page.

As a parent, you play a vital role in your child’s education. There are many things you can do to make your child’s first day and time at school more enjoyable.

Read more

Parents of Successful Children: What They Do

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It’s a natural thing to want your kids to succeed in life and as a parent, it can sometimes be hard to know what you need to do and say in order to move them toward their goals.

Well, as it turns out the parents of some of the most successful people around the world all do a number of things in common. From the likes of Richard Branson, Elon Musk to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates; their parents all did a number of things that helped their kids grow up to be the people they are today.


They Give Their Kids Chores

Taking out the trash, putting the bins out, stacking the dishwasher, hanging washing, making lunch – making your kids do chores helps them become more grateful, respectful and appreciative. By becoming actively involved with the work that goes on around the house, they understand the ‘why’ behind the work, making them more willing to contribute because they see the value of their work.

People who did chores throughout their adolescence are proven to be more engaged, more collaborative and more well-rounded employees because they understand what hard work looks like and are generally more competent when undertaking tasks independently.

Read more

Foods to Minimise Stress

There is no magic button to help our busy and sometimes stressful lives, but if we try and eat healthy and follow the research there are some foods which seem to help:

1. Blueberries

Identified as one of Mother Nature’s healthiest foods, blueberries are loaded with antioxidants (molecules that stop free radicals damaging healthy cells), so they work to protect and repair your body from the deleterious effect of too much stress. They are also bursting with vitamin C, which has been shown to reduce the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that, if left unattended in the brain for prolonged periods of time, can permanently deteriorate cognitive health.

2. Organic yoghurt

Yoghurt most notably contains a high amount of calcium and is also great for neutralising too much acidity in the gut, which is often a by-product of too much stress. Researchers from the University of Toronto also demonstrated that when Lactobacillus Casei (a pro biotic found in some yoghurt’s and supplements like Yakult) was given to people with chronic fatigue syndrome on a daily basis for two months, their feelings of anxiety significantly decreased.

3. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate has long been understood to be a great mood elevator. It contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which stimulates the production of endorphins, a feel-good chemical released in the brain that makes you feel happier. PEA is also the same chemical your brain releases when you feel like you’re falling in love. In addition, dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, a natural muscle relaxant that helps soothe and calm fragile nerves. A 2009 study found strong evidence that consuming 40 grams of dark chocolate per day for two weeks significantly lowered cortisol levels in healthy volunteers who had rated themselves as highly stressed.

4. Almonds, walnuts, & pistachios

Almonds, walnuts and pistachios are all highly nutritious stress-soothing snacks and great sources of magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B and E. Both E and B vitamins bolster your immune system, which counteracts the weakening effects of stress. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps kill free radicals associated with stress and studies have shown it also assists in the prevention of heart disease. B vitamins are important for the body’s production of energy, and so any deficiencies will leave you feeling weak and fatigued.

5. Dark green vegetables

Spinach, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, green peppers, green beans, peas, and zucchini – all of these dark green veggies contain B-complex vitamins, essential for the production of serotonin, a mood-enhancing neurotransmitter. High amounts of potassium are also typically present in these dark green vegetables, which studies have shown to be ideal for calming nerves.

So what’s for dinner at your house tonight?

Parenting Strategy Guide to Raising Successful Children

It’s difficult to navigate the tricky 21st century culture of instant gratification and constant distraction.

As parents, we experience even greater stress over these complications of a modern world because we’re trying to raise our children into successful adults!

First of all, you’re already leaps and bounds ahead of most parents because you’re reading this article. Most parents don’t take the time or energy to craft a thoughtful parenting strategy to help their children succeed.

One of the first steps toward an effective parenting strategy is educating yourself about what practices will set your child up for success.

So read on to continue educating yourself on how to help your children become successful. Read more

13 Traits Parents of Successful Children Have in Common

It takes a village to raise a successful, healthy child, and parents are the first step, we will continue to help here at Piptree too, with our holistic philosophy and engaged staff culture.

  1. Children should be doing some chores
  2. Children should be learning positive social skills
  3. Parents have high expectations
  4. The family gets along well with each other
  5. Teaching math concepts early
  6. Parents have completed higher education
  7. The parents get along well with each other
  8. Parents are Happy
  9. Value effort over failure
  10. Families that work outside the home too
  11. Poverty stunts potential growth
  12. Parents provide boundaries and guidelines
  13. Children are taught “grit” to sustain effort