Kids can be a handful, it’s in their nature to have lots of energy and there’s nothing wrong with that. Good parenting however, is all about balance. If you’re feeling run ragged with your little terrors sometimes, have you ever considered introducing them to mindfulness techniques? Mindfulness in children is proving very popular and it’s a great way to encourage them to adopt a sense of inner peace from an early age… (And give yourself a bit of peace too!)
Once you’ve mastered several practices of mindfulness, get ready to enjoy the improved quality of your daily lives. Mindfulness can enhance daily life in several ways, from promoting a sense of inner peace to improving the quality of a play date, from enhancing little ones’ self-confidence to encouraging deeper and more meaningful bonds between parents and children.
Studies have shown that mindfulness in children can;
- Mitigate the effects of bullying
- Enhance focus in children with ADHD
- Reduce attention problems
- Improve mental healthand wellbeing
- Improve social skillswhen well taught and practiced in children and adolescents.
…So it’s worth a try huh? If this sounds like the kind of thing you would like to try with your mini gang, why not try these simple introductory mindfulness methods.
Find your own Zen first..
Okay, first things first, you can’t teach mindfulness in children if your mind is racing at five hundred miles an hour. Set the tone initially in your own mind to level Zen and then you can begin. Feeling at one with the earth yet? You will, trust us. Once you’re in a calm state, your kids will be able to follow suit. (In theory anyway…)
Begin with simple breathing exercises. Get your child to notice their breath. Focus on the senses. Try listening mindfully, enjoying a treat mindfully or taking a walk mindfully, using all of your senses.
Introduce exercises when things are calm and your child is in a good place. Try to do some mindfulness activities as a family. This is a fantastic way to bond. Don’t drag it out too long, especially if your child is young, as they are likely to end up bored and restless.
We’ve picked out five easy ways to start off your mindfulness journey.. Good luck!
Ask children to sit comfortably and then close their eyes. Draw their attention to their breathing, telling them to feel the sensation of breath coming into and out of the body.
One of the best times to introduce mindfulness to kids is bedtime because before falling asleep, consciously or not, we all use this as a time to relax. Meditation before bedtime is as great for kids as it is for adults, as it helps to calm and reflect at the end of the day.
Mindfulness Sound Game
Have the child or children begin by focusing on their breathing (as above) After about five breath cycles, tell the children they’re going to hear a sound, and that they should focus on this sound as it gets softer and softer.
Mindfulness In Eating
If you’re sharing a meal or a snack with children, tell them you’re going to make it an exercise in mindfulness. Start with the breathing exercises. Invite children to be mindful of their food, of the aroma, of the feel of the food, texture, and taste. Repeat five cycles of breathing, and then repeat with another bite if desired.
Mindfulness is not just for sitting still. Go for a short walk with them and teach them to be mindful while in motion. Have them start with focusing on the breath, then as you begin walking invite them to notice how the ground feels under their feet as they walk, what the movement of the body feels like when in motion.
Put out some finger paints, a water or sand table or any kind of fun activity into which kids can really get their hands into. You can have them begin the exercise with their breathing cycles. As they play, guide them to be fully present in the moment whenever they get distracted. You can focus on their senses, what they see, hear, feel and smell.
So, ready to give it a shot?