I have been asked a couple of times recently if it would be okay to bring a nine-year-old child to my two-hour mindfulness sessions. The answer I give runs along these lines:

Mindfulness is a great skill for children to learn but I think the sessions need to be designed for them. As regards my own mindfulness sessions which run for two hours straight with a mixture of mindfulness practices, explanation and discussion with the audience, I imagine the experience would be quite boring for a nine-year-old’s attention span.

I’m remembering when I used to be brought to Mass at that age. I can still remember sitting, standing and kneeling in the crowded church feeling it would never come to an end. I have a memory of the smell of incense,which was pleasant enough though I only get it now at funerals, and of people shuffling and coughing. We don’t use incense at my mindfulness events and there isn’t a lot of shuffling and coughing either but bear in mind that the Mass only went on for a little over half an hour but it seemed like forever.

Mindfulness itself is taught to children of that age group often in primary school. The website www.mindfulnessmatters.ie is run by two people who do such training with primary teachers and with primary school age children. Readers might find that website helpful if they’re interested in mindfulness for children.

Mindfulness isn’t harmful to young children and gives them a technique they can use for the rest of their lives without fuss. Young teenagers have come to my events. I just think that for a nine-year-old it would all be a bit of a bore!