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Child's Mind: Mindfulness Practices to Help Our Children Be More Focused, Calm, and Relaxed [Paperback]

Christopher Willard

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Book Description

Aug. 31 2010
The interest in teaching meditation to children is growing rapidly, as a number of recent stories in the mainstream media have documented. Child's Mind aims to teach parents and child professionals how to integrate mindfulness into their work with children and teach both young children and adolescents the basics of mindfulness and meditation. The book is a great resource for anyone who work with young people, including family coordinators at retreat centers, religious instructors in a range of traditions, teachers, therapists, and medical professionals. Child's Mind aims to teach children the power that comes with the comfort of just being, as well as the capacity to be, be aware, and be comfortable with oneself.

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Child's Mind: Mindfulness Practices to Help Our Children Be More Focused, Calm, and Relaxed + Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises for Well-Being + A Pebble for Your Pocket
Price For All Three: CDN$ 43.60

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About the Author

Dr. Christopher Willard received his Bachelor's degree in English from Wesleyan University, where he first became interested in meditation. After graduating, he spent time traveling and working a variety of jobs including a teacher in a psychiatric hospital and an artist's assistant. In graduate school he did his doctoral work on the psychological applications of meditation and mindfulness practice. Over the past ten years, he has attended retreats with Thich Nhat Hanh, Jack Kornfield, Pema Chodron, Noah Levine, and other Buddhist teachers in both the U.S. and in Asia. Although he considers the Engaged Buddhism of Thich Nhat Hanh his spiritual home, he has studied and practiced extensively in the Theravada tradition, with some dabbling in Tibetan Buddhism.In the past few years, he has taught meditation to a wide range of people, from young children to recently paroled murderers to psychotherapists and schoolteachers. Dr. Willard has taught with the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy and volunteered at the Insight Meditation Society's Teen Retreat. He currently works as a psychotherapist at Tufts University, and consults and does private work in the Boston area. When not working or practicing he enjoys cooking, hiking, reading, writing, international travel, and any combination of these he can manage.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Calm, simple, clear instructions for meditation -- child or not. Sept. 8 2010
By J. Barnett - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I picked up this book after it was recommended to me by a friend, and I'm happy I did. Willard's writing and explanation of meditation practices are clear and simple, and I've begun incorporating the practices he outlines into my daily life. My favorite so far is Practice 2.3: Metta Meditation. I also appreciate how he discusses how our own thought patterns are so integral to our lives and how meditation helps to tame them: "You don't have to believe everything you think. Watch [your thoughts] like leaves floating down a stream, don't jump in the river and chase them, just watch them drifting by. Shift your perspective and intend to look at the thoughts, not from them."
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Medicine for Young and Old* Dec 1 2011
By Judith C. Toy - Published on
Did you know the words meditation and medicine are derived from the same Sanskrit word for "inner measure"? This is a pivotal gem from Parallax Press' new book on mindfulness for kids. Indeed, mindfulness practice is good medicine -- for both young and old. But how wonderful to introduce this life skill early on!

A great resource book for teachers, doctors, mindfulness practitioners, therapists, parents, grandparents, and all who work with the young, Child's Mind is chock full of ideas, often sensory exercises, for centering children in the Here and the Now. Beginning with the premise that children are the embodiment of beginner's mind, and therefore a fertile field, and backed by solid and extensive research, Willard lays out exercises for "child-sized attention spans and the diverse sensory learning styles of children." First, the author builds a case for the advantages of meditation in general, and then tells specifically how meditation benefits children and other humans. Among other perquisites, Willard notes, mindfulness strengthens one's ability to adapt, increases concentration and reduces reactivity.

"Because the purest water flows from closest to the spring, I try to use original meditation techniques that have been well-practiced through the years. These include adaptations of grown-up practices from respected meditation teachers East and West that I have integrated with contemporary research."

Citing world experts like Jack Kornfield, Sigmund Freud, John Kabat-Zinn, Thich Nhat Hanh and one of my personal favorites for children, Maureen Murdock, -- Spinning Inward -- the author begins with the premise that an adult who practices mindfulness is capable of passing the skill to children. He starts with a definition of and introduction to mindfulness, methods adults can employ to establish their own practice, and follows with methods for teaching meditation and mindfulness to kids.

Part II of the book offers Meditations for Mental and Emotional Wellbeing, to transform or calm the effects of depression, anxiety, psychological trauma, impulse control and the autism spectrum in children. Subsequent chapters deal with specific childhood issues such as sleep deprivation and test anxiety. Part II provides resources and program ideas. The book ends with a comprehensive bibliography.

I am reminded of a tender time a few years after the 1989 revolution in Romania, when my husband Philip and I introduced the mindfulness bell to a group of orphans we were teaching there. One morning, a fifteen-year-old girl came to class with bandaged arms because she had used an open tin can to slit her wrists. The other children, mostly teens, were visibly upset. The room felt chaotic. We called for a translator, and in the ensuing confusion, Olivia, a lame young woman, limped to the front of the room, gingerly picked up the mindfulness bell in her shriveled hand and invited the bell. The sound calmed us all.

Here is the medicine of mindfulness -- the rich offerings of Child's Mind, a handbook that holds no less potential than the children of the world.

*Originally published in The Mindfulness Bell
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful approach Aug. 17 2010
By P. Wagner - Published on
Highly recommend reading this book. The author is a gifted story teller that delivers experience and advice in a way that I can relate to.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good source of mindfulness activities for class Sept. 6 2012
By John Wyatt - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book has a good supply of mindfulness activities that I have found useful with my Sunday school class. These are more focused at the shorter attention span of children and have been more useful in class than the adult practices I learned. I especially liked the "Points of Contact" and the "Ice, Water, Vapor" methods as ways of starting a class full of high-energy middle-schoolers. The "eating" practices were great ways to add a mindfulness component when giving out treats to the class.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of ideas Dec 30 2012
By Tara Nicholson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've had this book for a year and read most of it, and it is chocked full of fantastic wonderful ideas. I bought it in hopes of creative ideas to share with my kids, teach them the world of virtues and mindfulness. Any time I feel stale on ideas, I read another chapter and am re-inspired, to reuse what I've already read, and to use the new material I've just read.

This is a good book to keep in your library. And I do not find it denominational. No matter your spiritual preference, this will likely be useful.

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