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How to Set Meaningful Intentions with Children

"Intentions are the seeds that create our future"

Many of us set goals and intentions with children (especially in educational settings) but what are intentions and how do we set them?

Goals and intentions encourage mindfulness, self-reflection and setting boundaries, and are a great way for children (and adults) to bring some guidance into their life. Gaols are clear, measurable and target orientated: I will do 5 kind acts today for others.

Intentions, on the other hand guide us, and are more vague: I will be more kind.

Intentions also have their roots in yoga tradition, a Sankalpa is an intention or vow to yourself, through the form of an affirmation to connect to your highest, innate self.

Why would kids set intentions?

As adults, we set intentions to help motivate, inspire and guide us. The same is true for children.

In a world that is large, noisy and confusing, intentions are a comforting way to guide children back to their centre, to what is important to them, and to how much they have grown.

Mindful intentions can help a child through a challenging time by motivating and grounding them back to their why. For example, an aspiring gymnast might make the intention to be a better communicator, so that even when she loses a competition, she spoke to people when she was feeling down.

In classes at The Calm Club, we spend time working on our own affirmations and Sankalpas that we say aloud to make them more present. I love doing this powerful work with children.

How often should children set intentions?

At The Calm Club, we love setting intentions at the start of the year to keep us focused and prioritising the areas that we really care about.

A year is a long time, however, especially if you are a child! In my classes, I love to set intentions at the start as a group, and encourage children to do so too.

However, you can set intentions with your children or the children you work with on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. All are great ways to get children reflecting and being self-aware.

Questions to encourage intention setting

This topic can be confusing for children, so intention and affirmation examples are a great way to show what you mean:

Affirmation examples:

- I am calm

- I am loving and whole

- I am resilient

Intention examples:

- In my free time, I will do things that help me feel calm

- I will show people I love that I love them

- This week, I will try new things even if I fail.

Once children understand this concept, you can guide them to set their own intentions at the frequency that is relevant for them.

Reflection Questions:

- What qualities do you like in your friends?

- What do you think you are good at in your life?

- How do you want to treat yourself today?

- Is there any way you don't want to treat yourself?

- What kind of things do you want to achieve this _____ (week/month/year).

- What do you hope to be when you are older?

- Who do you want to help in your life?

- How can you help the community, or even the world?

- Why is this important to you?

Something I love to do is draw and add colour to intentions and affirmations. This helps so many students connect in a deeper way to what they have written down.

Once they have set their intentions, let them know how proud you are of them doing so. Keep checking in, being interested, and they will too!

To find out how to book onto a workshop, event or class and explore affirmations and intentions with The Calm Club, click here.

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