IMCW Spring Family Mindfulness Day -- Bringing Awareness & Compassion to Everyday Family Life
By Jennifer Jordan | May 24 2017
Exploding balloons, mindful drumming, a group zentangle, brain-in-your-hand game, mindful hikes, and more! Fun is the name of the game for keeping children engaged and curious about mindfulness. This is never more true than for our family days and retreats.
On April 30, Ofosu and I were honored to lead over seventy children and parents in mindfulness for our third IMCW Family Mindfulness Day at the newly-renovated and beautiful Horace Mann Elementary School in Washington, DC. Family Days are an opportunity for families to explore the foundations of mindfulness within the realm of play -- engaging in attention games and mindful moments, exploring practical ways to bring awareness and kindness into everyday family life, and enjoying mindful sports and movement.
Ofosu and I were once again humbled by the courage and commitment of the parents who fit a day of mindfulness into their busy schedules on a Sunday afternoon, as we understand how challenging it can be for families to simply show up! It felt like time very well-spent, as we focused on deepening our family and community bonds and spending quality time together.
The chosen theme of the day was "Mindful Every Day: Bringing the Practices of Awareness & Compassion into Family Life". At our Family Days, we alternate family sessions with parent and children break-out groups. A key part of the family sessions are practicing and exploring simple family activities that foster greater compassion and awareness, such as sharing appreciations for a family member or listening to one another’s highs and lows of the week. In break-out groups, children are led by mindfulness teachers in exploring mindfulness within the realm of play, each within their own age group. It is always a joy to witness the older tweens truly engaged and enjoying themselves amongst their peers.
We were fortunate this Family Day to have a stellar team of experienced mindfulness teachers generously volunteer their time to lead the children’s groups. A big thank you to Lauren Rubenstein, Monica Campbell, Travis Spencer, Dory Halati, Catherine Miller, Kelly Gilstrap, Courtney Hundley, and Jill Grospierre! Mindful sports, hikes, drumming, deep relaxation, community zentangle, crafts, and stories were all part of the fun. During parent break-out groups, we adults take much-needed time to unwind, meditate and engage in parent discussion together.
We are happy to be part of this growing community of families committed to cultivating the skills of kindness, self-regulation, resilience, and awareness in everyday life. Parents have frequently voiced their gratitude for our family days and retreat, noting in particular that they appreciate their children having the opportunity to be with other families who value these practices as much as they do.
Grandparents, parents, and guardians with children age 5-14 are invited to attend our third annual Family Summer Retreat this coming July 13-16 at the beautiful Sevenoaks Retreat Center in the Shenandoah foothills. There are a just a few spots left!