Mindfulness + Dreams: How the Two Come Together

Jan 16th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles, Our Street Books

 

Winnie the Pooh quote about mindfulness

Mindfulness. We hear this word often in today’s society. But what is it exactly and how can we use it to better help and understand our children?

Our Street talks to Relax Kids founder, Marneta Viegas, about her approach to using Mindfulness to reach out to children to help them focus on today for a better tomorrow.

Relax Kids logo image

How did you start Relax Kids?

I set up Relax Kids in 2000. I was a children’s entertainer in London for 10 years and over the years, I noticed a change in children’s behaviour. They seemed to be more hyperactive, anxious and less able to sit still and listen to my show.

Having been introduced to meditation and relaxation at the age of 12 by my mother, I felt that meditation would help children. However, I found that it was very difficult to convince parents and teachers that relaxation and meditation was useful for children as the concept of mindfulness and meditation was very unheard of.

What was it that motivated you to start Relax Kids?

I just felt so passionate that relaxation and meditation was the key to the many mental, emotional and physical issues of children. I believed in it so much that I used the money from my inheritance to set up the company. My mother was leaving the country and gave me an early inheritance to put a deposit down to buy a flat. She was not happy at the time when I told her I was using it to produce a range of CDs to help children relax. Starting at the beginning on my own, was incredibly difficult and a huge risk as it was such a new concept but I had a strong vision and really believed in what I was doing.

Image of Relax Kids How to be Happy

What do you offer at Relax Kids?

Relax Kids is a series of books and CDs to help children manage stress, anxiety and anger whilst building their self-esteem, confidence and improve sleep. We also run Relax Kids classes for children using a unique 7-step system. We run a global training scheme and our Relax Kids coaches run classes in schools as well as after school private classes.

What makes Relax Kids classes different from yoga and mindfulness classes?

Relax Kids offers a unique combination of fun and creativity alongside mindfulness exercises which really helps engage children. Classes are enjoyable and insightful and help to capture children’s imagination. Relax Kids classes combine elements of mindfulness and yoga with fun and creative games and a range of exercises. When I first started, a business advisor asked me to study the competition and I replied that there wasn’t any. No-one else was doing this. Relax Kids was the first of its kind. Relax Kids was at the forefront of the mindfulness and relaxation revolution.

Buddha quote

What are the benefits for children?

Relax Kids books and CDs helps children become more mindful, resilient and emotionally healthy. Relaxation and mindfulness helps children manage their emotions and feel more positive and confident. It also helps learning as children are more able to listen, focus and concentrate.

Our classes and positive affirmations on the CDs also help children feel good about themselves and builds their self-esteem. Mindfulness is becoming increasingly more popular in schools now. Mindfulness exercises can be very dry and difficult to grasp for some children. I feel that Relax Kids offers a unique combination of fun, creativity alongside the mindfulness exercises which really helps engage children.

Did you do a Relax Kids pilot?

We ran a three year pilot in a school in Knowsley – Liverpool, where exclusions were reduced from nineteen to zero in three years. Levels of emotional literacy significantly rose. Pupil behaviour significantly improved. Incidents of repetitive low level disruptive behaviour fell by 20% and the number of serious behaviour incidents, including aggressive or violent behaviour/serious disrespect halved in the first year, halved again the following year and continue to fall. The OFSTED report was OUTSTANDING for emotional wellbeing.

Tell us about the challenges you’ve had to face with your business.

Running the business all on my own with little business experience was incredibly difficult at the beginning. In 2005, I went on Dragons’ Den and they laughed at the concept. I nearly gave up my dream as it seemed that no one was interested in what I was doing. My classes were small, schools didn’t see the benefit of having Relax Kids in their school. I often felt that I was alone with my vision. Things have changed now and we have a great team, an amazing tribe of talented trainers and coaches around the globe and a huge number of loyal customers who love Relax Kids because they have seen the changes it makes in their children’s lives.

Image for The Wishing Star

What is your long term vision for Relax Kids?

We have now launched Baby Mindful which is relaxation and mindfulness for parents and babies. We hope to continue our training in more countries including a big launch in the USA. The books are now translated in Dutch, German, Icelandic, Slovenian, Korean and Chinese and I hope to see the books and CDs translated into more countries so more and more children can get access to relaxation and mindfulness. I have lots of plans for more products. I would like to see more Relax Kids coaches and classes around the globe and more relaxed children.

Relax Kids: Working hard, creating calm, confident kids in chaotic times.

Click here to see their full range of products.

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Image of author Marneta Viegas

 

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