Creating a SAFE Place For Children
The creation of Maz’s original Mindful Mouse, “Marvin” came after a conversation with my 7 year old nephew, Cormac, about how worrisome it can be for children starting a new school or joining a new class. Never has this concern been more relevant than right now, following the unscheduled, extended break children have been forced to take because of the Covid-19 pandemic many are struggling to return to school. Not only have they spent 3 months away from their friends and peers but they are also returning to a school environment very different from the one they left. How could we not expect them to struggle with such a huge change in their little lives, one where they can no longer touch each other or play the same games they used to during breaks? Where, for many masks and face coverings have become the new norm. If we as adults have struggled to adapt, imagine how much more challenging that may feel with little humans that doesn’t have our level of comprehension. That’s why my nephew’s latest story (https://amazingcounselling.co.uk/mindful-mouse-stories.html ignited an idea . . .
Cormac’s latest short story is about ‘Dan’. A 4 year old mouse who is just starting school and is worried no-one will like him. Dan’s way of coping with this is to find a safe place to be alone with his thoughts and emotions, a place Cormac called the “stop and think corner”. ‘Dan’ was lucky to find this space, but how wonderful would it be if all children were able to make a safe place to do the same? A place where they could explore their feelings and mindfully develop their emotional intelligence. That is certainly one of my goals when I run my ‘Mindful Mouse’ courses, but perhaps during this period of unprecedented change we could give children an opportunity to make their own safe space.
A safe space can be anything or anywhere, it might be sitting on a favourite chair, lying on some cushions in a corner; it might even be inside a wardrobe or under a bed. And we can take whatever we want in there, a favourite toy, a blanket, a hot water bottle and maybe even a book to write in. The important thing is that it is a safe place where we can be alone so we can
S - Sit
A - and
F - Feel
E - Emotions
Emotions are simply information. They are how the body communicates what is going on and by helping children to identify and understand them is the first step towards building their emotional intelligence. When they can label their emotions and have a safe place to explore them it can help them cope with any worries and stresses they are experiencing. Adding in a mindful practice then teaches them that their emotions are only temporary, when they take time to understand them they don’t feel as powerful or scary and can even make them easier to talk about.
This one minute exercise is perfect for children to practice by themselves in their ‘SAFE’ place.
In a period of so much change and uncertainty, helping children to feel grounded and safe is more important than ever. This is a great start for beginners. For more Mindful Mouse exercises and to download a PDF version of this exercise and the 'Feelings List' please visit Maz's Mindful Mouse at https://amazingcounselling.co.uk/mindfulmouse.html