You’ve probably come here because you’ve heard about the life-changing advantages of mindfulness.
Everything you’ve heard is true; it’s not a rumor.
And I’ve got something for you today that will make you feel like you’ve got parental superpowers: Mindfulness.
We don’t have time to squander since mindfulness improves children’s well-being and helps them deal with stress and adversity as they occur throughout their lives. The earlier you can teach your children these abilities, the better.
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What Is Mindfulness For Kids
It’s difficult to express the true meaning (and benefits) of mindfulness for children in a single statement.
I mean, how can you sum up a whole life shift in a single sentence?
Every area of your life could be greatly improved by practicing mindfulness.
It goes somewhat like this:
You could pay attention to how your body feels, what you see and smell, or the emotions you’re experiencing.
Mindfulness also entails paying attention to what your mind is doing and how it responds to what is going on around you.
And this is true whether we’re talking about you or your children.
No of their age, gender, or plight, mindfulness is a powerful tool for helping kids (and you) deal with difficult and perplexing emotions.
(It’s also beneficial for energetic or special-needs children.)
In a nutshell, “Mindfulness” is “paying attention in a certain way, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally,” as the Mindfulness master himself puts it. Zinn, Jon Kabat
Why is Mindfulness Important for Kids?
The overarching reason for mindfulness’s importance is that everyone wants to make the most of their time on this planet.
Everyone desires happiness and stress-free life.
Tuning in and paying attention offers a lot of advantages.
Here are a few ways that mindfulness for children might help:
When you educate your children to pay attention, you are strengthening their focus, which aids in the development of their brains.
With more attention, you can ALWAYS do more.
Your mind is running, and you can make smarter judgments if you pay attention and focus on what it’s up to.
Not to add that paying attention will aid in the management of strong emotions.
We all struggle with enormous, perplexing, and terrifying emotions, and teaching kids to identify these sensations can help them avoid being overwhelmed by them.
Noticing aids in the development of better relationships in children.
It is critical to take the time to listen and reply intelligently to people.
These communication skills will benefit your children for the rest of their lives!
Mindfulness can help you unwind and even sleep better!
Yes, learning to calm your thoughts before going to bed will help you relax and stop your mind from racing.
Tuning in to what’s going on around you opens up opportunities and allows you to see the world through new eyes.
In the actual world, what mindfulness for kids entails:
- Better performance as a result of improved attention.
- Improved relationships with you and your friends Ability to live in the now
- Empathy, self-awareness, kindness, and compassion are all enhanced by increased emotional awareness (fewer outbursts).
- More inventiveness
- Stress, tension, and anxiety are reduced.
- Happiness and increased energy
As your children become older, you’ve given them essential life skills and tools for dealing with emotions and stress in a calm and productive manner.
Mindfulness’s therapeutic powers have been lauded by mental health specialists, and this comprehensive handbook is the ideal approach to get started with this life-changing practice.
How to Teach Mindfulness to Your Kids
Okay, so you’re sold on mindfulness’s incredible life-changing effects for kids.
But here’s where it gets tricky:
What is the best way for me to teach these skills to my children?
It’s not difficult, and I’ll assist you!
Kids will naturally start reacting in attentive ways after forming a few minor habits.
Talk To Them About It
Begin by having a quick and straightforward talk about what mindfulness for children entails:
“Here’s the thing: when we’re unhappy, if we pause and pay attention to how we’re feeling, we can help regulate these enormous feelings,” you may add. If you’re nervous about an impending test, breathing will help you relax, and you’ll do better on it. This is known as mindfulness, and it is simple to practice.
Then, based on your children’s age, give a few specific examples of what it means to practice mindfulness.
Could taking a few deep breaths before a game help you relax?
Could you identify three things you enjoy if you’re bored or angry?
Take note of the tingling in your fingertips, the butterflies in your stomach, and the sensation of the ground beneath your feet. Start paying attention to your feelings and how you react to them. Don’t berate yourself for anything; just pay attention.
Just do one thing at a time, whether it’s playing with your toys, working on a school project, or taking a shower. If you’re doing schoolwork, don’t look at your phone or watch TV while you’re doing it. If you’re having supper, don’t play with your toys or bother your brother. These aids focus, and as our concentration improves, we may do amazing things.
You have no control over many things in life if there is one thing you can’t manage. Be open to whatever is going on right now (even if you don’t like it). Try to find the positive in any scenario; I guarantee you will discover something positive if you look.
Remember that everything happens in its own time, and if you try to rush an egg, the yolk will break and produce a huge mess. Patience with yourself and others is a virtue.
We must demonstrate mindfulness for children if we are to have any lasting influence on them.
We can’t expect them to behave in the same manner we do.
What a monkey sees, a monkey does.
That is why it is critical that you master the fundamentals.
I guarantee it:
Your life will change in a BIG and GOOD way if you start by altering one simple behavior every day!
Kids Should Be Kids
Children are children.
There will be days when they appear to be interested in these activities and days when they are not.
It’s fine whatever happens.
Stop attempting to influence every result. If your children aren’t reacting, try again the next day.
Keep It Short and Sweet
We all know how short children’s attention spans are. Keep your practices as brief and straightforward as possible.
Keep in mind that they are children’s, not master monks, so keep your expectations in check.
Add Mindfulness To Your Routine
Making a habit a routine makes it much simpler to stick to.
We all know how essential routines are for children.
Routines remove the element of surprise from your day. Add mindfulness into your after-school routine, your morning routine or even your bedtime routine.
Children’s Mindfulness Exercises Suitable for ANY Age Group
The greatest approach to educate children about mindfulness is to make it enjoyable for them, which we can accomplish by engaging in fun mindfulness exercises with them.
Here are some mindfulness activities for young children and teens. (Not to mention yourself.)
These mindfulness activities for kids are applicable to any age group.
The 54321 grounding exercises are a well-known practice that can help you relax, slow down, and enter the present now by utilizing your five senses to recognize various objects in your environment.
You tune in to things you normally don’t pay attention to by anchoring yourself in the current moment.
This is known as savoring, and it allows you to perceive the world through new eyes.
Raise your hand and stretch your fingers as wide as possible. Then, counting from 1 to 5, trace all of your fingers with the opposite hand’s finger.
Next, have your child hold their hand up and count slowly while tracing their fingers. After that, let them take turns tracing. This is a relaxing and meditative activity.
Breathing exercises for kids are amazing. Here is a favorite.
Lie down or stand in a comfortable position.
Place your hands on your stomach and inhale softly through your nose. Consider closing eyes.
Take a deep breath all the way to the bottom of your belly button. For a count of two, hold your breath.
Next, exhale completely through your mouth. As you breathe, notice how your shoulders relax.
If it feels wonderful, do it again.
Consider a serene landscape.
It might be anything from a woodland waterfall to the lapping waves of a seashore to a flower-filled verdant meadow. Imagine yourself in this situation.
Imagine this image if you close your eyes. Then, inside that scene, explain or write about what you feel, see, hear, smell, and even taste.
It’s straightforward but effective. (And your child is welcome to join in as well.)
From five to one, count backward.
You have the option of doing this in your thoughts or out loud. I prefer to speak aloud.
Restart when you reach one (for one minute).
Slow, regulated breathing is required for this exercise to be successful (see above).
Your mind will become less concentrated on stressful ideas after one minute.
Counting has the primary health benefit of reducing anger. This is critical since anger is one of the most harmful emotions we may experience.
- Pay attention to how you feel in your body. Try to pay attention to where your body is tight.
- Try to relax each muscle while sitting comfortably. Work your way up from your feet to the top of your head. As you proceed, relax each muscle.
- Consider your body becoming limp.
- Consider how warm, bulky, or tingling your muscles are.
- You are no longer supported by tense muscles. You feel light, free, and at ease.
- Don’t forget to relax your face and eyes as well.
- For one minute, try to sustain this feeling of liberation.
Tense muscle areas in your body, such as your neck and shoulders, might benefit from a comparable muscle relaxation exercise.
For 10 seconds, tense your muscles.
Then let go of the tension and pay attention to how your muscles feel.
When you relax, your muscles grow fatigued from tensing them so hard, and you attain the relaxation you desire.
Start with the muscles that are bothering you the most and work your way around your body.
Do you have a jelly-like feeling in your body? That’s great, that’s the objective!
During bath time, teach your child to “notice.”
Take note of the water’s temperature, the sensation of the suds against their skin, and their thoughts.
Request that your child concentrates all of their attention on how they are feeling.
Mindfulness At Dinner Time
Check out these Conversation Games For Kids To Encourage Talking and Communication.
Dinnertime is the ideal time to connect with loved ones since I’m obsessed with making meaningful relationships.
Simply going around the table and saying one nice thing from your day is a simple mindfulness practice to perform at dinnertime. Our favorite dinner-time game is Table Topics.
The questions range from funny to thought-provoking, making them ideal for lunch!
Mindfulness includes elements such as gratitude and kindness.
Kindness rocks is a wonderful activity for kids of all ages (I loved it myself).
Mindfulness Exercises for Kids 3 to 10-years old
These mindfulness activities for kids are designed for preschoolers and elementary school students.
Collect tiny food items and place them in a bag.
Place a blindfold over your children’s eyes and ask them to sit down.
Allow them to touch the items you’ve placed in the bag and try to figure out what food they’re sensing.
After that, have your child remove their blindfold and examine the food.
Pose a few probing inquiries, such as, “What color is it?” Is it a rough or a soft surface? What does it smell like, how does it sound, and how does it taste?
This is a noticing and concentrating activity.
Scavenger hunts are excellent exercises for bringing you back to the present.
Yoga for the whole family: Yoga has been found to lower stress, increase attention, and boost brain functioning to aid learning. It could be a pleasant way to unite as a family while also improving physical and emotional wellness, especially for moms who are dealing with burnout. With your children’s, try out a few postures. From Kids Yoga Stories, here’s one of my favorite sequences, “Emotions Yoga.” Yoga is a great way to be a playful parent and can help keep you from losing your temper with your kids. It also helps with emotional regulation and self-regulation as well, and don’t forget self-discipline too.
Of course, I’m referring to yoga. It’s a tried-and-true family favorite, and it’s the ideal way to get everyone together for some memorable fun.
There’s an ancient proverb that goes, “The family that prays together, stays together.” When you combine yoga with the flow, it works in the same manner. Yoga’s advantages, whether via prayer or practice, are likely to build relationships and bring everyone closer together.
So, what are some of the ways that family yoga may help (besides reducing stress in kids?)
Game Of Telephone
This is a popular game in which you send a message around your family by whispering to each other. (You’ll need a few family members.)
This is another game that helps us become more aware of our body; we must exercise self-control and stay in the present moment by whispering.
This is a mindfulness game that I play on a daily basis.
We must all stop what we’re doing and embrace as firmly as we can for 20 seconds if I say “bear hug time.”
Smell and Tell
Collect some odor-producing items.
Consider flowers, playdoh, and food, and take turns sniffing them and describing what you smell in your own words.
Affirmation Simon Says
Who doesn’t enjoy Simon Says? This is a spin-off of the famous Simon Says game.
Positive affirmations are beneficial for us (however ridiculous they may appear), and they are also great for children’s.
They have the ability to change negative thinking into good thought.
It might be challenging to persuade a child to repeat a statement like “I am courageous.”
Rather of attempting to push it, play Simon Says. Except Simon says things like, “I can do everything I set my mind to,” and “I can do anything I set my mind to.” Alternatively, I’ll take 5 deep breathes right now.
I enjoy using analogies to help younger children understand complicated topics, and the railway station comparison is fantastic.
Explain to your child that our thoughts are similar to trains entering and exiting a crowded train station.
Throughout the day, thoughts churn in and out. Choo choo, choo choo, choo choo
We may observe our own ideas as they enter and exit our minds. Trains, for example.
This is a simple exercise in examining our own thoughts.
This is best suited to younger children.
Instruct your child to lie down and place their favorite stuffed animal on their stomach.
For a count of three, have your child breathe deeply in and out. With each breath, see how the stuffy rises and falls.
See if they can get their stuffy to sleep by rocking it.
Spiderman’s capacity to tune into his senses is one of his talents.
Ask your children to use their spidey senses and explore the space for two minutes, noting what they see, hear, smell, touch, and taste.
In your household, make a stop word.
This implies that once this word is said, everyone freezes for one minute.
Freezes completely. (On the spur of the moment)
The term can be very ridiculous and enjoyable, such as a banana boat or freeze, please!
An entertaining game like this provides brain pauses, interrupts tense situations, serves as a check-in, and reduces screen time spent spaced out.
Choose four of your favorite colors, and then search your home or area for as many items as you can that include those four hues.
The table is rectangular in shape. The clocks are in the shape of a circle.
These are exercises in paying attention to and tuning into the present moment.
What I Love About You
We aim to promote kindness and connections at all times.
I recommend playing this game before going to bed or while driving.
It’s simple: take turns telling each other what you admire about one another.
Make a pit stop in your home.
You could even have the kids make a stop sign and color it.
Anyone passing by the sign must come to a complete halt and take two deep breaths.
This enjoyable mindfulness practice will assist you in “seeing” things. As your “focus living thing,” choose a flower or plant. You’ll take a close look at this living item and observe all of its complex and delicate characteristics.
Sit on the floor with your legs crossed, or on a chair if it’s more comfortable, once you’ve chosen your flower or plant. Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed as you sit straight and extend your head towards the sky. Take five deep breaths while closing your eyes.
Examine your thing with your eyes open. Take note of the colors, scents, lines, and subtleties. Take note of the texture and form. Take a look at the petals and stems. Take a close look. Do you notice a difference in your flower when you pay attention to it?
Teenagers’ Mindfulness Activities (11 and up)
With teens, cutesy games don’t function as well.
Everything is lame, right?
The following are some of my favorite techniques to teach mindfulness to teenagers:
Journal of Mindfulness
Teenagers are an excellent age to begin journaling. This is a lovely method to be in touch with your inner self.
The Big Life Journal Teen Edition is my favorite journal for teenagers.
Gratitude Check In
Encourage your teen to focus on the positive aspects of life. Being grateful is an important part of being a happy grownup.
Challenge your teen to jot down three positive things from their day at supper or before bed.
Something they found lovely, something for which they are grateful, and something kind that someone did for them.
Listening to upbeat music may significantly boost our mood.
You might even go a step further and have your adolescent focus on the music itself, such as the instruments utilised and the pace (maybe not the explicit lyrics).
What effect does the music have on them? What feelings come to mind?
This is my stress-relieving technique. I do these three things whenever I’m in a difficult scenario. (You can simply teach this to your adolescent as well):
- I tell myself, “My mind is having an awful experience.”
- Then I think to myself, “This, too, shall pass.”
- After that, I take five deep breaths.
You’ve suddenly become more relaxed.
Teach Teens About The Brain
Teenagers are now old enough to grasp some of these more complicated ideas.
(And they could even be enthralled by what they discover.)
Our brains develop, and we may choose between a fixed and a development mentality.
Mindfulness is a type of brain training that allows us to change our minds and lives.
Set Screen Time Limits
Technology, more than anything else, takes us out of the present moment.
Teens and screens are a major issue today.
Set time restrictions for your teen’s screen usage (20 minutes at a time) and use this time to interact and chat with them.
Pose interesting questions. Children enjoy discussing themselves. In this piece, we suggested a few discussion starters, and I recommend picking one of them up.
This habit has the potential to alter your life (now) and your children’s future.
Although this is a lengthy article, simply select a few of the activities or techniques and put them into action. Then come back the next week and pluck a couple more.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this affects and shapes your children. Which exercise will you begin with your child first?