for your health
By Dr. Monisha Vasa
CHILDREN ARE INHERENTLY mindful.
;ey naturally immerse themselves in the
present moment, without worrying too much
about the past or the future. Children intuitively use their senses to navigate and connect
with the world and their experiences in a
But as children get older and life gets a
little more stressful, fears and anxieties can
start to interfere with their ability to be mindfully present. Here are some strategies that we,
as adults, can implement with youngsters.
Helping them maintain a foundation of mindful awareness can support their emotional
well-being through adolescence and beyond.
Cultivate your own practice. Children
are much more likely to model what you do,
rather than what you say. Make mindfulness a
way of life for yourself. Set aside time to meditate, or allow your kids to observe you practicing mindfulness. For example, demonstrate
to your kids how you take conscious breaths
throughout the day or use all of your senses to
enjoy your meals. ;ere is no better way to
introduce mindfulness than integrating it
seamlessly into Mom’s or Dad’s life.
Slow down. Family life can become very
hectic, very quickly. Between children’s scheduled activities and parental commitments,
there is o;en little time to be present in a
meaningful way. Step away from the frantic,
taxing pace. Parents need to allow for plenty
of downtime, relaxed play time and transition
time between activities.
Also consider allowing time at the beginning and end of each day to discuss anything
that might be on your child’s mind. For example, lying in bed together at night and discussing the “highs” and the “lows” of the day
K Develop a child’s awareness
The Costco Connection
Costco Travel offers a wide variety of relaxing and healthful vacation opportunities.
Go to Costco.com and click “Travel” or call
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 40
In our digital editions
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genetics and children’s behavior.
(See page 11 for details.)
Cruises are o;en overlooked as healthy
options. But Dimon recently completed a two-week wellness cruise with Crystal Cruises
where she had access to daily physical activities, massages for stress management, onboard
lectures and workshops, and bountiful healthful food options.
Ayo says many hotels have embraced the
current wellness trend. Some have ;tness facilities monitored by a trainer, yoga and Zumba
classes, yoga mats and instructional videos,
plus fresh fruit at the front desk.
One hotel chain o;ers workout gear free of
charge for guests to use during their vacation,
“Four Seasons recently introduced scenic
jogging, walking and hiking tours [that are]
complimentary for guests,” Dimon says. “Many
of the hotel brands also o;er sleep programs,
because getting su;cient sleep is a big part of
a wellness lifestyle.”
;e Sound Sleep Initiative at the Park
Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort in Beaver Creek,
Colorado, gives guests access to slumber mas-
sages, a Sound Sleep TV channel and a menu
of sleep-friendly elixirs and desserts, as well as
oxygen canisters and humidi;ers to help trav-
elers adjust to the Rocky Mountain altitude.
Sleep programs might also include a pillow menu, sleep masks, ear plugs, blackout
curtains, white-noise machines and a lullaby
music library or even a sleep concierge.
Spending time on wellness travel and
doing what interests you will keep on giving
back long a;er you’ve returned home. Dimon
says it’s a good investment of both your time
and your money. C
Heather Larson is a travel writer based in
provides an opportunity for re;ection and
communication with your child.
Manage your expectations. Children’s
openness to mindfulness and meditation
practices may vary based on age, temperament, mood and other factors. Sometimes
they might be open to a focused discussion
about how meditation can bene;t them, and
sometimes not. Sometimes they might laugh
hysterically during a meditation session, and
sometimes not. Don’t worry about forcing the
idea upon them.
At all stages, parents are just planting seeds
for skills that can serve children well in the
future. Even introducing mindfulness as a concept in passing can help develop lasting memories. For example, while taking a walk with
your child, consider engaging your ;ve senses:
“Aren’t the colors of the fall leaves beautiful?”
Or, “Did you hear that thunder?” ;is will
allow your children to connect with you in the
moments that you experience together.
As you explore the world of mindful
awareness with your child, you will discover
what techniques and methods interest your
child the most. ;ere is no right or wrong
way—just the way that feels right to you and
your family. Approaching mindfulness
together, with an attitude of fun and curiosity,
can provide a foundation that serves both you
and your child well for years to come. C
Costco member Dr. Monisha Vasa is an
author and a board-certi;ed general and
addiction psychiatrist in Orange County,
California ( mindful-healing.com).