Mindfulness Practices for Kids
You may know the benefits of mindfulness as part of a balanced life; improved concentration, emotional intelligence, and the ability to relate to others with kindness, to name a few. You may even practice mindfulness yourself, but have you considered teaching mindfulness to your kids? As well as teaching children the importance of exercise and rest, instructing them on the practice of mindfulness has many benefits for kids.
The Benefits of Mindfulness for Kids
Practicing mindfulness at an early age helps your child self-regulate as they navigate through different stages of their life. There are many behavioral benefits including decreased levels of stress and disruptive behavior, as well as improved self-control and compassion. Mindfulness assists children to identify their emotions and prepares them for trials that may lie ahead in adulthood.
Mindfulness Activities for Kids
There are some fantastic activities that are suitable for kids to engage with that practice mindfulness from mindful.org. Here are some of our favorites:
Teddy Bear Breathing– Have your little one lie down on their back and place their favorite teddy bear on their belly. When they breathe in and out watch the teddy move up and down as if they are rocking it to sleep.
Four Square Breathing– This is great for older kids. Breathe in for four seconds, hold the breath for four seconds, then breathe out for four seconds. Do this four square breathing multiple times then return to normal breathing.
The Appreciation Game– Ask your child if they ever feel disappointed or upset by something or someone. Ask them how that feels. Acknowledge their feelings and then remind them that there are good things happening in their life too. Name three good things together. You can then encourage your kids to remember three good things whenever they are upset and disappointed and get them to remind you to do it too! To develop this habit, play it whenever you are together as a family, at the dinner table, or on car journeys for example.
Meditation– There are a variety of meditations and techniques that are aimed at differing ages for kids to try from mindful.org. You as parents are encouraged to join in with these if it helps to aid concentration and focus.
By making these games and activities a part of every day family life, mindfulness will become a part of who you and your children are, cultivated over a lifetime.
Including mindfulness when teaching kids how to lead a balanced, healthy lifestyle will help when faced with situations where they might not feel like themselves, such as not winning a match in the junior tennis league or when they are feeling tired and haven’t got enough sleep.
Teach your child the benefits of a balanced lifestyle so they can carry their good habits of rest, fitness, and mindfulness with them into adulthood.