Teaching Your Child Mindfulness

 

Mindfulness has become a bit of a ‘buzzword’ in the mental health community. But, it’s for a good reason. It is a technique that is used to help with everything from anxiety to overwhelming stress. It can be especially helpful when it comes to easing the anxiety of children who may have gone through some type of trauma or stressful situation. 

One of the strategies of self-regulation that counselors use is promoting self-awareness. Mindfulness and self-regulation are closely related in that regard, as the practice allows your child to stop, breathe, and focus on the present moment rather than the past or future. 

Teaching your child how to be more mindful in their everyday lives shows them that their mental health is important and should be taken care of. It is a valuable life lesson that they can take with them well into adulthood to better manage stress or anything the world might throw their way. 

Why is Mindfulness Important? 

Up to 80% of children in the foster system have mental health conditions of some kind. Even after getting adopted, children can still deal with mental health issues for years to come. In some cases, things like counseling or therapy are the best options. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can help your child with at home that will allow them to better manage some of their symptoms. 

That’s why mindfulness is so important. 

Because mindfulness focuses on the present, it can allow your child to let go of the things in the past that hurt them or that they might be scared of. There are both physical and mental benefits of practicing mindfulness. Some of the physical benefits include: 

Reduced symptoms of stress

Reduced pain

Reduced sleep issues

Reduced gastrointestinal problems

From a mental or emotional standpoint, mindfulness can help your child to practice more self-control, become more adaptable, and improve their mental clarity. It is a technique that can and should be used in moments that feel too overwhelming to handle. 

Techniques You Can Teach Your Child

Simply put, mindfulness is about focusing on breathing and the present moment in the world around you. When you are practicing mindfulness, everything from the past and future goes away. 

One way to express this to your child is to tell them to imagine their thoughts as clouds floating above them. The clouds can pass through freely (meaning, it’s okay to let those thoughts come in), but you cannot hang onto them. The thoughts eventually disappear. The result is typically a more relaxed state where worries of the past or future don’t feel so overwhelming. 

Belly breathing is another great mindfulness technique. You can begin by having your child take a moment to notice their breath, its pace, what it feels like. Then, have them lay down and place one hand on their chest and one on their belly. As they inhale, they want to fill up their belly like a balloon and as they exhale they can allow the balloon to deflate. Since our breath often tends to stay up in our chest, this way of breathing may feel counterintuitive. However, it is shown to trigger a relaxation response in the body.

If your child has mastered this technique, you can encourage them to practice counting while they breathe: in through the nose for 4, hold for 4, and slowly let the air out of their belly and chest for 8. 

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 is another engaging mindfulness activity to practice. Take turns naming five things you can see, four you can touch, three you can hear, two you can smell, and one you can taste.

Lastly, there are tons of free guided meditations you can access online! Taking some time out of the day to listen to one of these together is a great way to encourage regular mindfulness.

Creating the Best Environment

While the practice of mindfulness can be done anywhere, it’s a good idea to set your child up for success with the right environment. For example, studies have shown that being out in nature can improve mental health and reduce stress. Or, you can bring nature into your home by creating a special spot or room for relaxation. Adding plants to any room in your house can promote mental health by: 

Increasing creativity

Boosting focus

Strengthening memory

Decreasing stress and anxiety

Boosting mood

Having a specific area where your child can close their eyes, focus on their breathing, and stay in tune with the present can make the practice of mindfulness easier for them. It only takes a few minutes a day to get into the mindfulness mindset, and it is a skill that will be helpful to them throughout their lives. So, share the importance of mindfulness with your child and guide them through the best techniques to make it a habit.

 

Author's Bio

Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to child development, health and wellness, mindfulness, and productivity. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn 

 

Virtual Mentor Program

Physical Distance Does Not Mean Social Isolation

A Family For Every Child's Virtual Mentor Program provides support and guidance to youth utilizing technology versus face to face. Once social distancing has been relaxed, transitioning to our traditional Mentor Program is an option after a home visit. Communicating remotely and through technology can offer youth a bit of a "shield" or safer vantage point to share information. Sharing online as opposed to in person, they are able to compose better responses, take time to gather their emotions and opt out of a difficult conversation if needed.

How Virtual Mentoring Works

To become a Mentor in our Virtual Mentor Program, you will follow the same steps as with our traditional Mentor Program. Once matched with a youth, the Mentor will connect weekly via phone call, text, email or other electronic means. 

What Is Required To Participate?

  • 21 years old
  • Have a reliable internet connection / cell phone
  • 1 year commitment
  • Volunteer application & 3 references
  • Background check
  • Interview and Orientation
  • Option to transition to our traditional Mentor Program after an approved home visit
  • Submit a Monthly Mentor Report

Guest Blog Post Guidelines

Content

  • Our blog aims to provide relevant, useful articles to current/soon-to-be foster families. As such, all articles must be related to to the subject(s) of adoption, child-care, and foster-families. Any articles deviating from these subjects will not be considered for posting.
  • Only one link to personal sites allowed within an author's bio. This link must be to a personal website or social media account. If you would like more than one link to a personal site, you must pay for a sponsored blog post.
  • In order to more easily provide accurate, authoritative content to our readers, only one link to relevant sources is allowed per two-hundred words written. These links cannot be spam nor advertisements. Upon discovery of these misleading/spam links, your post will be removed and you will no longer be allowed as a guest blogger. If you believe you have a good reason for including extra links, you may email blog@afamilyforeverychild.org with your reasoning.
  • Blog posts will grammatical errors will not be accepted.

Images

All images used in blog posts must be in the public domain. 

Tone

All blog posts should follow a professional tone that aims toward empowering and educating either soon-to-be or current foster families/children.

Authorship

[details on what types of authors we're willing to accept]

Article Length

[Guidelines specifying desired word count]

Questions?

All questions or comments should be directed to blog@afamilyforeverychild.org

Roundup App

ROUNDUP APP is a service that connects you to participating nonprofit organizations nationwide and allows you to “Round Up” purchases made with your debit or credit card and donates the difference to your preferred nonprofit.  For Example:  If you purchased a coffee with your debit or credit card for the amount of $1.95, your purchase would be rounded up to $2.00 and 5¢ will be donated to your chosen nonprofit.  Sign Up TODAY and choose A Family for Every Child as your preferred organization and your spare change could change the life of a foster child in need of a forever family

You can Sign Up 3 ways

Getting started is easy… click through the slideshow steps below and follow the !

Have more questions about how it works?  Please contact our Development department by phone or email:

Phone : 541-343-2856

Email : development@afamilyforeverychild.org

You can also visit RoundUp's FAQ's page


If the Round Up app isn’t for you, you can also set up a monthly giving amount of your choosing by following the link below.  Here you can connect either your bank account or credit card and subscribe to give a set amount each month. 

Set up Monthly Giving

Whether you choose to Round Up, give monthly or make a one-time donation, your support provides programs and resources to help a foster child find a forever home.

Intern Information Form

 
 

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Donors & Sponsors

We would like to thank all the people and businesses that keep the Heart Gallery going with your generous donations, contributions, volunteering and advocating for these special children.

We strive to include all who have helped us succeed. If we have missed you or have not included you on our list, we apologize and hope you bring this to our attention.

Thank you!

Partnering for Success

A Family for Every Child’s mentoring program is essential to helping foster youth make school and life transitions at critical stages in their development. OCF strongly supports enhancing this important program, ensuring positive, successful mentoring experiences for an estimated 60 middle and high school students throughout Lane County.

Kathleen Cornett
Vice President of Grants & Programs
Oregon Community Foundation

Academic Support

A Family For Every Child's (AFFEC) mentor program is expanding its reach by connecting with children's schools in order to help them perform better academically and remain on track to graduate. With support from the Oregon Community Foundation, AFFEC has brought on a new team member who is charged with conducting school based community outreach, connecting with children's school counselors, and supporting our mentors in their mentee's academic life. This will allow AFFEC to help children and teens see greater academic success, and feel more supported by caring adults in their lives. Currently a little more than half of foster youth obtain a high school diploma due to difficulties when transitioning from home to home, and mentors have the potential to ease those transitions with schools and other institutions. Thanks to the Oregon Community Foundation, AFFEC will now be supporting mentors and youth to help ensure children not only receive their diploma, but exceed academic expectations. Our new Education Liaison is Mary Bromley, Mary has been an AFFEC mentor for over five years. She is the only consistent person in the life of her mentee. Mary also recently retired from the school district and will begin working with us on our Education/Mentor/Mentee Program as an Education Liaison.

Life Skills

In addition to providing more academic support, AFFEC is launching a Mentor Assisted Life Skills Program which will pair mentors with youth who will work on developing life skills together. Mentors and mentees will be offered a curriculum that includes information on how to handle one's finances, healthcare, cooking, and more. This program will better prepare children who are at risk of "aging out" of foster care for living on their own. These classes in conjunction with the mentors' support will aid in the success of each child becoming a self sufficient adult! Our new Life skills effort is lead by our new team Member: Christina Sutton Christina comes with a long history of connection to AFFEC. In the very early days she ran our Mentor Program, and then she took a break to foster and adopt many children. While she still has a house full, she is getting involved again to help us build our education classes for youth at risk of aging out of care and those who will become adults with little preparation for the real world. She will plan and teach bi-weekly classes on everything from "How to write a check" to "How to shop for food" to college, trade-school knowledge, and resume-building. Christina grew up in foster care and never got a family of her own, so her passion for at-risk youth is huge and based in real-life experience.

Contact Us

If you would like to get involved in this effort, we need you – contact mentor@afamilyforeverychild.org or Christy@afamilyforeverychild.orgor call 541-343-2856.

Donations have been made on behalf of :

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Our Very Generous Business Advocates

  • Arbor South Architecture
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  • (Inside the Valley River Mall)
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Faith Based Partners

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Community Partners

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  • Adept Computer Services/K9 Bytes and Shannon Barnard
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  • The Staff and Management at KVAL

Youth Mentors

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Family Building Mentors

  • Bob and Tami Clayton
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  • Marlene Drescher
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Good Karma Monday

Eugene Emeralds VS Vancouver Canadians

Monday August 12 @ 7:05 PM

PK Park, Eugene OR

Join us for Good Karma Monday presented by Yogi Tea & The Eugene Emeralds! Pre-purchase tickets online or at the park the night of the game.

Half of all ticket proceeds will be donated to A Family For Every Child so grab your gloves and we'll see you at the park!

Hero for a Day 2019

Thank You!

This year over 150 heroes enjoyed many stations and each one brought a unique and fun activity. The kids did crafts, watched a magic show, assisted in a surgical “operation”, visited with therapy dogs & donkeys, sat in fire trucks, tried on SWAT gear and so much more!

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