It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and what better time to teach your kids the benefits of Mindfulness whilst supporting disability charity Scope at the same time?
Scope’s mission is to make this country a place where disabled people have the same opportunities as everyone else. They provide support, information and advice to more than a quarter of a million disabled people and their families every year, whilst raising awareness of the barriers facing disabled people and helping them build resilience in their day-to-day lives.
They have developed Mindful Monsters, a set of activity cards, which gives parents a new and exciting way to help their little ones develop important life skills through exploring mindfulness, while spending quality time together. The cards are quick and easy activities parents and children can do anywhere.
Research shows mindfulness in families has many benefits:
· More resilience in day-to-day life
· Improved focus
· Better understanding of their emotions
· A sense of calm
· More positive thinking – promoting kindness and gratitude
The cards are brilliant to have on hand to whip out when a tantrum threatens (adult or child!) to help take a moment and change focus – to get everybody back on track without an emotional maelstrom!
As parents and carers know, children often struggle to understand their emotions – which affects both their behaviour and that of the adults around them. Mindful Monsters are a great way of calming everybody down.
It’s a far healthier approach, too, than resorting to sugary snacks and other forms of food related bribery.
There are 4 Mindful Monsters who each offer a slightly different type of activity.
There is Thinky, who helps kids with their concentration, Giggles, who likes to promote kindness and gratitude, Snug who teaches relaxation and destressing and Sparky who likes to get creative without leaving glitter bombs or mess.
Each monster offers a range of activities in their particular area – so Snug may ask you to concentrate on your breath by seeing if you can breathe like a snake, or a whale (tricky that one). Giggles might ask you to pay someone a compliment and see how good that makes you feel. Thinky suggests going for a walk to somewhere you know well and spotting three new things, whilst Sparky might get you to pull your scariest monster face opposite someone else without laughing.
Each activity is well thought out and fun and would work with any age. The Husband reports that pulling monster faces was the ice breaker activity at a recent conference. (Who says IT people don’t have a sense of fun …..).
Caitlin (9) and Ieuan (8) both thought the cards were fun although I think it helps to have had a conversation about mindfulness with your kids first – and if you can embrace it as a family so much the better. Otherwise it’s a little ‘left field’ to ask a grumpy 8 year old to stand on one leg when you’ve just upset him (again) by restricting his access to Roblox.
To get the cards, you need to sign up and donate just £7.50 monthly (postage is included). Then you’ll receive your starter pack for the first month, and then extra cards and a newsletter each month following that with more activities from the Mindful Monsters.
The welcome pack (which fits easily through your letterbox) contains an introductory booklet, some fun stickers and your first 7 monster cards. There are 84 cards to collect in total.
The cards are of a decent thickness to withstand lots of use and feature the appropriate monster on the front together with a reminder of the particular focus – e.g. creativity.
You can make the most of your donation by gift-aiding it to allow Scope to claim another 25% from the Government and 70p in the pound goes towards supporting disabled people and their families.
I think this is a really creative scheme which gives a little extra to donors and builds a long term relationship with them.
So do your bit and seek out a little extra calm with the Mindful Monsters.