The element of safety and trust with kids and youth is the foundation of every class + workshop I facilitate with children. It's also the cornerstone of mindfulness. Creating an environment of safety allows children to regulate their nervous system, and land in their window of tolerance. When I facilitate a yoga class or workshop in person I'm very intentional in the way that I create a sense of safety for every child and youth. Before anyone even arrives I set the stage- making sure that there is a clean, open space for us to practice in. I lay out our yoga mats and give some extra thought to how we will set things up on that day. I usually have loose objects in the centre for those who are tactile. Usually we have crayons and paper for kids to colour and a couple of books to look at.
As children + youth come in, they are greeted warmly by name. This creates a sense of connection immediately. My experience is that youth respond best when they're spoken to with the same tone you'd use when you're talking to a good friend. Genuine, authentic and joyful. Throughout the class, children are given choice and agency over how they move their bodies. The invitation to participate is always open and if they'd prefer a quiet activity, that choice is respected as well! Children's emotions and feelings are attended to warmly and thoughtfully. We assist children in identifying their big emotions and we use the other tools of mindfulness that we'll share in future posts. Over the long term- safety is built through developing strong, positive and authentic relationships. If you're interested in learning more check out the free training module I created. I share some ideas and practical ways of developing strong trusting relationships. Head over to rachellegibbs-me.thinkific.com to enroll. Grab yourself a coffee and put aside about 30 minutes. It's jam-packed with lots of great ideas and strategies. Next week we'll chat about the other tools in the mindfulness toolbox!