I am sure many of you are wondering what mindfulness is and how it applies to children? Mindfulness is a simple technique that emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the present moment. It is meant to increase happiness and decrease anxiety. No matter what stage your children are at, mindfulness can be an extremely helpful tool.
Mindfulness, which promotes skills controlled by the prefrontal cortex (such as focus and cognitive control) can have a particular impact on the development of skills during early childhood years. The easiest way to teach children mindfulness techniques is to practice them yourself.
From the time your children are infants, it is important to demonstrate good habits in front of your children, because they will pick up on it. Some habits include not being attached to your phone while with others, avoid spending an excessive amount of time watching television, doing activities such as reading and art, and so on. Your children will take notice of how you behave, as well. For instance, if you have a bad temper and blow up at your spouse quickly, this sets a bad example.
5 Fun and Easy Mindfulness Exercises for Children:
Ask your child to stand up and jump up and down for one minute. At the end of that minute, have them place their hand on their heart and take notice to how their heartbeat and breathing feels.
This exercise will help your children become more in tune with their five senses. Have your children list five things they can see, four things they can feel, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste.
The glitter jar is meant to represent the mind. This activity will connect thoughts, feelings, and behaviors by demonstrating how at the start of our day, our mind is settle, but sometimes thoughout the day, it will become hectic and jumbled.
This teaches kids the core components of mindfulness through the acronym STOP: Stop, Take a breath, Observe, and Proceed. It is meant to be used throughout the day and is even a great exercise for adults.
Take a Nature Walk
Children love being outdoors; it not only gives them the chance to get some fresh air, but it also releases the same endorphins that are released during exercise. Have your children point out a few things from nature, like a fun leaf or an animal. Certified mindfulness instructor Lindy Sood says, “For them, this is fun and exciting, but they’re really nestled into that present moment. It takes you away from the stress of what is to come. They’re not thinking about activities they have to get ready for, and it helps establish a connection between parent and child.”
There are so many fun activities to do with your children to teach mindfulness. Practice these yourself and if you stumble upon any other fun exercises for kids, be sure to share them with me!