Ensure your children notice the everyday. Teach your children to notice their thoughts, feelings and body sensations. If you keep activities regular and try something new, teaching mindfulness to your children is simple.
It is so easy to rush through life without stopping to notice everything around you, but it has been proven that paying considerably more attention to the present can improve your overall wellbeing. By taking steps to develop mindfulness in your children early can help them enjoy their life more and understand themselves better.
As Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness centre, says, “It’s about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives.”
Improving mindfulness in children can alleviate the effects of bullying, increase focus in children with ADHD, decrease attention problems, improve mental health and also improve overall social skills.
We have put together a list of activities that you can take your children through to help them develop their mindfulness.
Relax with Yoga
Teaching your children yoga at a young age can help them learn to sit, listen, relax and breathe, giving them the tools to help them navigate any challenges of life and highlight their inner peace. We love these yoga poses from Joy Spring (via Pinterest) below.
Unwind With Meditation
Meditation can help your children to relax and unwind, especially before bed to ensure they have to good night’s sleep. We love the Mindful app, free and quick to download it includes soothing sounds, and easily understandable instructions that go through a body scan, visualisations and various breathing exercises. This app has also been proven to reduce ADHD symptoms, download it here.
Find Their Quiet Place
Help your children to relax and use their imagination to visit their quiet places. Whatever they imagine as their safe, quiet place – whether it be at the sea side or in their bedrooms, get them to draw them, create every dimension of this magical place. Every time they need to relax and unwind, get them to imagine they are in this location, taking deep breaths. We love this video by GoZen that explains to your children exactly how to find their special place and when they should revisit, check it out here.
Whether you use a box or a jar, every time something great happens and makes your child smile, get them to write down the moment on colourful paper, fold it up and keep it safe in the happy jar. Whenever they feel sad, get them to choose a happy note to put a smile back on their little face. See how quickly they can fill up their little jar of happiness.
Detox From Digital
It’s so easy to let your children get wrapped up in the latest craze, television show or video game. However, it is beneficial for them to have time away from a screen, doing something active, creative or just having time in their own thoughts. Encourage them to have one full evening with no television, mobile device or computer game, spending time to engage with you, teaching them a new hobby or reading a book together. It’s amazing what some time in the real world can do!
Get Creative With Finger Paints
Mindfulness is all about experiencing, enhancing and noticing different senses, finger painting is a great way to do this. You can encourage your children to be creative with finger paints, it is an activity they can really get their hands into. You can also integrate their breathing with their painting, focusing on their breathing and senses, describing the different colours that they see and how they blend together, the squelch noise they hear, the feel of the cold paint and how it smells. Playing with both water and sand can also have the same benefits, watching how the water slips through their fingers and how the sand shifts out of their hands.
Keep This Fun & Games
Engaging with their senses whilst keeping things fun is a great way to keep your children practicing mindfulness. Best of all, you can do these activities from Kids Activities Blog with household objects.
- Blowing bubbles encourages children to slow down and take deep breaths, then watch as the bubble makes slow and gentle movements as they float away.
- Similarly, encourage your children to play with balloons, play a keep the balloon off the floor game. This is also a great way of slowing down as well as keeping both the body and mind engaged in one single focus.
- By filling a bag with different shaped objects and getting your children to put their hands in, without looking and describe and guess the object. This activity encourages curiosity as well as thinking about different shapes and textures.
- The blindfold taste test is one of our favourites, encourage them to use all of their senses to work out what food they are experiencing. Use a range of foods, like vegetables, fruit, and dried fruit – keep it foods to your child’s likes.
We have created some top tips for when you are practicing mindfulness activities with your children, to ensure they are successful as possible. See below.
- Keep things simple, this helps to ensure it is as relaxing as possible, sharing long words or complicated definitions could be confusing and stressful.
- Keep their bedtime routine a mindful one – whether that is a short body scan or deep breathing, it is a calm way to return to their body at the end of the day.
- Use a breathing buddy when taking deep breaths with younger children, simply place a stuffed animal on their stomach and focus on the up and down movement of their toy. Daniel Goleman explains more in this short video.
- Make simple activities mindful by noticing surroundings, for example when you go on a quick walk, ensure it is about noticing sounds, seeing animals, feeling plants, tasting berries
- Reflecting on the day is a great way for your children to discuss what they are thankful for, what they have learnt and experienced in their days. It is important to keep this fun, less of a chore and more of a moment of peace.
We hope you find our mindfulness tips and activities helpful, we would love to know which you tried, how they affected your children or any new methods you and tried and tested out for yourself!
While your children are relaxing and getting in touch with their own emotions, it is important you gain time for yourself. With our name labels, you can save yourself time when organising your children’s clothing, lunch boxes, pencil cases or even shoes and of course, let’s not forget they can be used to label their happiness jars! View our range.