With Thanksgiving a week away, I thought this the perfect time to introduce Michelle, of MoorMindfulness, as part of my Educational Expert Series. There are a variety of factors that affect your child’s learning process, so every once in awhile, I enjoy interviewing experts in various fields and then sharing their tips/tricks and suggestions for you and your preschooler.
Thanksgiving, by definition, is the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors. For years, I have spent each morning and each night thanking the Universe for all the amazing things/people/experiences I have in my life. Having a grateful heart is not just important to me...it’s truly a way of life.
I found MoorMindfulness on Instagram, where they’re currently running a November Gratitude Challenge. Each day they post a new topic of gratitude and challenge their followers to take a moment to consider their answer (and leave a comment).
I myself, have been participating in the challenge and as a result, thought who better to interview this month than Michelle Moorhead of MoorMindfulness? Located in Princeton, New Jersey, her focus as a Mindfulness Educator is to teach mindfulness to children in the area.
I hope you enjoy our Q & A session!
Q. What services do you provide and who do you serve? A. I teach mindfulness to people of all ages, with a focus on children. I teach classes at a variety of locations including schools and yoga studios as well as private home instruction.
Q. What is ‘Gratitude’- what does being grateful mean- and why is it so important? A. Gratitude is the practice of cultivating appreciation. We are used to being grateful for big things, but it’s important to find an appreciation of the ordinary. A big component of mindfulness is “heartfulness” - a term that we use to refer to kindness, compassion, and gratitude. You really can’t have mindfulness without heartfulness.
Q. How does being grateful or having an attitude of gratitude, affect a child’s learning process? A.As humans, our minds have evolved with a negativity bias which is great for keeping us alive, but as a result, our minds are like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive. By making gratitude a practice we can incline our brains to seek the good. This can help us have a kinder attitude towards our teachers, the learning process and with ourselves. It can also help us have fun with learning!
Q. How can parents teach their preschoolers gratitude- to be more grateful? A.Like any good habit, creating opportunities that are simple and consistent are key. It may be having family members share their favorite part of the day over dinner or reflecting on something we are grateful for before bed each night. Kids will usually always list the big things like Mom, Dad, and siblings (and toys) and that is great, but once they’ve gone through those, perhaps try to prompt them on the smaller things like how yummy their snack was or how much fun they had on a playdate.
Q. What books do you recommend parents read to their preschooler to teach gratitude? A.The Thankful Book by Todd Parr, Take the Time: Mindfulness for Kids by Maud Roegiers and Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson.
Q. What’s your *number one tip* for practicing gratitude? A. Exactly that…PRACTICE! It may seem like it should just be something we’re always aware of, but sometimes we really need to make it a daily practice until our brains get in the habit.
Q. Just for fun… what is one word you would use to describe yourself as a preschooler? A. Happy! *Full disclosure, I asked my mom for the answer to this one :)
PPPS We had a *blast* listening to The University of Tampa Writing and Advertising Students present their class project to us and can't wait until December for their final presentation. Truly grateful to have been chosen as a client for this class!