Mindfulness and The Transition to Secondary School
Welcome to the August edition of our blog. This month I have the honor of introducing our guest blog by Carol Powell, founder of Chatterminds. She will be discussing mindfulness and how this can help children with the transition from Primary to Secondary School.
How is your child feeling about moving to secondary school?
Starting secondary is a big deal. It probably doesn’t seem that long ago that you were drinking coffee at baby groups, talking about whether your child slept through the night and now you struggle to get them out of bed in the morning!
There are likely to be lots of emotions around for your child at the moment, so we can bring some mindfulness into the mix which can help us to navigate this transition.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness means paying attention to what’s here in the present moment (our surroundings and also our internal world of mind and body). It includes kindness to, to ourselves and also to others.
With mindfulness we can notice what is here and allow it to be here. Often, we spend a lot of time resisting the present moment and wishing it were different somehow. “I wish it wasn’t raining.”, “I wish I wasn’t feeling anxious.”, “I wish I wasn’t so busy!”
The problem with resisting the present moment is that this adds more stress to the situation.
It can be really helpful to pause deliberately throughout our day and just notice what is here and ask ourselves what we need? Often, we rush though our lives on ‘automatic pilot’ (doing things without thinking about them). The problem with this is that we spend much of our time in our heads, in our thoughts and quite often in our worries. When we live our lives this way we can miss the good stuff that is going on (there is always something good to find) and we can magnify and overthink our worries. This can feel exhausting.
When we tune in to what is actually here and ALLOW it to be just as it is, then we can respond skilfully to our stress and move forward in a helpful way rather than with a habitual knee jerk reaction which can sometimes make things feel worse.
So how can mindfulness help with the transition to secondary school?
- Firstly, it can allow us to stop and notice what is here. Worry? Fear? Excitement? And then it can provide a great place to start with communication. We can really listen to our children and what’s going on for them. We can then make an informed plan about how to support them.
- We can validate their feelings and normalise them. All feelings are normal, some don’t feel very nice but they are all normal.
- We can empathise and understand that they are feeling worried. “This is a worrying time, change can be scary.”
- We can share times when we felt worried ourselves.
- We can remember a time when they were worried before but got through it.
- We can acknowledge that feeling worried doesn’t feel nice but it’s not dangerous and it will pass. All feelings pass and change, just like the weather. With mindfulness we can learn to watch our thoughts and feelings rather than get swept away by them.
- We can look at the worries and notice what is in our control and what is not. We can then try and let go of the things we can’t control but work with the things that we can. E.G. We can’t control where the lessons are and the teachers that we have but we can control getting to know the teachers and taking time to learn how to get around the school. We can look information up on the internet and get ourselves really organised. We can’t control the friends we meet but we can control who we talk to and what we say.
- We can think up some positive thought statements and write them down. Your child can say these statements to themselves if they are feeling wobbly. “I am brave!”, “I am choosing to have an amazing day!” “My challenges help me to grow!”
- We can also learn some mindfulness breathing practices. This brings our mind into the present moment. The breath is a powerful tool for settling worry.
- Finally, we can focus on all the things that we are looking forward to! Our minds like to think about our worries a lot so we need to train them to think about the positives.
Change is a part of life, it helps us to learn and grow. If we can talk about change in this way to our children, we are equipping them with skills of resilience. Good luck with this important step, I am sure your children will grow and flourish in this next chapter of their lives.
Carol Founder of Chatterminds
If you would like to join Carol’s facebook group – Mindful living for ‘imperfect’ parents please join https://www.facebook.com/groups/mindfullivingforparents.
Carol also has a new course for 11+ for information please click here
Thank you Carol for your insights.
If you feel that your child would benefit from tuition, please get in touch today to discuss your needs and requirements. Contact me on 07717845007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.