Encouraging Children to Connect with Wellness
By Claire Way Managing Director, Spa Strategy | July 16, 2017
My parents, in theory, had it easy. Keep me safe, clean, make sure I ate my vegetables - back then not an easy task, and you pretty much had the recipe for a child that would grow-up fit and healthy. My sphere of influence was limited to school, friends, family and electronically a TV with three channels and limited programs, even periods of time when nothing was aired. Compared to today, the external influence on children now deemed generation X was miniscule. Skip forward and we now have reports that say Millennials growing up in the socially-networked world, are the anxious generation. This hindsight has, in part, created the demand for greater understanding of how children are affected by societal influences.
New studies conducted at schools and universities, are analyzing the effects of self-improvement programs that include meditation, mindfulness and breathing techniques. The results continue to prove the effectiveness of introducing simple wellness activities to help children understand their own well-being. Some schools are taking wellness education a step further. It is mental health week here in the UK. In response to this initiative, one of the local schools has introduced an interesting wellness program. "To live is not just to survive it is to thrive and grow".
They go on to say, "Our development program aims to create resilient young men who can ride the stresses and pressures of modern life. The program is about thriving, building resilience and a positive mental framework that reduces the risk of illness. Lessons to promote good mental habits covering subjects such as personal identity and self-image, sleep 'hygiene', mind-set, positive goal setting, kindness and gratitude". We teach the skills of Mindfulness and all of these are reinforced throughout the later years." Although it makes me pause and consider the influence that the message "survive or thrive" could have on a teenager, it is great to see schools bringing wellness into the classroom and building a foundation.
The rise of technology and social networks affects individuals differently. Irrespective of the generation category the reality is we are increasingly seeing a rise in the number of people who identify as being more anxious and looking for comprehensive information to combat the effects; as Thierry Malleret says in the GWI monthly barometer (Millennials are the Anxious Generation), "the greater the anxiety, the greater the search for solutions that can assuage its effects.
So what solutions are hotel and resort spas offering?
Six Senses Spa, Porto Elounda, Crete, Greece, offers a program of wellness, education, nutritional workshops and group spa treatments for 5 to 12 year olds. The focus is on having fun whilst learning how to integrate wellness into everyday life through games, treatments, workshops and specialist classes. The three-day program takes place in the specially created Kids Ark comprised of classrooms, activity rooms, wellness treatment area plus a kitchen and changing rooms. In addition there is an outdoor area with eco gym, labyrinth garden and meditation cave, Hippocrates garden, pool and playground.