This week I have for you a Q & A with the wonderful Teniele Arnold. Teniele is the mother of two young children, free spirit, gratitude lover, abundance manifestor, and the author of Finding Your Happy Voice, a story of one little boy's journey to discovering breath and his inner happy voice. Teniele's next book, The Adventures of Ellie's Wellies, will be available in August. This book has an underlying mindfulness aspect to the story and introduces parents to mindfulness for kids. Teniele aims to help parents and children discover their inner superpower, the power of breath.
Why do you do what you do?
I believe that every child should benefit from being taught the power of breath from an early age. By connecting to their inner selves, getting to know who they are, and bringing awareness to how they are feeling, children’s connection, knowledge and awareness can then flow into their actions and decisions.
I get so much joy from helping parents and children to create little pockets of moments that bring them a closer connection. When I wrote my first book, I thought if this helps one other parent and one other child to learn to communicate with ease and make their day a little lighter, then it's worth it. When I visit schools and events seeing the kid's faces discovering, they each have a superpower, and it's their breath. It is magical.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is merely just paying attention to the present moment without judgment. We are just noticing but not labelling or judging, just notice the moment and then move to the next. It really is that simply, but there are many forms of mindfulness and many ways to practice it. This is where you can start to dig deeper and find a way that suits you best, there is no right or wrong way. We simply are paying attention and being aware in the moment.
Why is mindfulness important?
Mindfulness brings our awareness to the present moment. You may wonder why this matters? Have you ever done a task entirely on auto-pilot? Driven your car and don't recall parts of how you got there? When you are not aware of your thoughts and what they are telling you, you may not be making the best choices. Practicing mindfulness helps us to live more in the present moment. We can begin to look at our thoughts and choose if they are serving us to our highest potential or keeping us small.
Once we become aware of these thoughts, we will have feelings around these thoughts. When we acknowledge the thoughts that pop up in our mind, this leads to a sense or emotion around the thought. If we can work through that feeling without judging it, it will help us to make better decisions.
There are many reasons why practicing mindfulness is beneficial to us:
- Clarity of mind
- Better decision making
- Regulating emotions
- Improved communication
- Emotional intelligence
- Identifying yourself
- Improving self-confidence
- Cultivating happiness
- Enhanced intuition
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Improves sleep
How can I help my kids to do it too?
I always encourage teaching children through play!
We are not going to get our kids to start sitting in lotus position from day one, nor do we need too. It is called a practice for a reason, because we need to take time to practice it. There are so many other ways to bring pockets of mindfulness in a practical way into your child’s day.
Children are naturally mindful in many ways, but emotionally their minds are still developing; they need us to teach and guide them. We can show mindfulness through using our five senses, and you can find games and activities dependant on age, once you have introduced mindfulness. As they grow, you can start to introduce them to meditation and more advanced mindfulness and breathwork.
I strongly encourage ways to find time to connect as a family and teaching through play; it should be fun, light, and joyful. As parents, we already have enough on the to-do list; don't make this another thing on the list; this should be just enjoying time with your kids in the present moment.
- You can check out my new Youtube channel where every fortnight I show you a new mindfulness game or activity you and your child can do together.
- Reading is a fantastic way to bring mindfulness into your family.
- Other fun ways are chanting, dancing, walking in nature.
- Art can be very meditative and mindful also; it’s bringing the mind to one focus point and then having the awareness of breath. With art we can be still and quiet we are in a creative zone our feel-good endorphins kick in, we can become in a mindful and meditative state. See Ros' online art lessons here and her Mini Artiste Club here.
- Have you ever heard of Zen Boxes? Look it up! These are great.
- Nature walks and then creating art with what you have found; you can bring the five senses into this and prompt your child with questions like "What does it smell like?" or "What does it feel like?"
To find out more about Teniele or to see her books, book boxes and grab a free mindful colouring mandala, click here.