Have you ever tried to be mindful? Have your children ever found it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand? Have your children suffered from anxiety and fear? Are your kids hyperactive? Do you love to have your children be happy always and enjoy life? Have you ever imagined that your children may also suffer from stress? Then it’s our responsibility to cultivate mindfulness in children.
Mindfulness simply means noticing and giving attention to our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. As a parent, be mindful everyday by giving them your full attention when speaking with them, giving them a mindful hug, by taking them outside, by playing with them, by appreciating them for their good actions, by preparing healthy and homemade food. You can add to this list too.
Effects of Mindfulness on Children
1. Can help them to feel comfortable and relaxed.
2. Better focus and concentration.
3. Raises self-awareness.
4. Can provide interconnection by bringing compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude into them.
5. Can help kids thrive at school.
6. Better conflict-resolution skills.
7. Better ways to respond to difficult emotions.
8. Increased empathy and understanding of others.
9. Strengthens attention and concentration.
10. Improves classroom participation.
11. Enhances social and emotional learning.
Mindfulness for Children
Here’s how you can initiate them into their mindfulness journey, make them feel better, reduce their stress, and help them enjoy their life a little more. Mindfulness should be introduced to them in a fun, joyful and playful way. It should not be forced at any time. Try to use games and activities.
Here are 5 playful ways to cultivate Mindfulness in your children:
This practice is to open their ears to sound. Select a piece of music you have never heard before. Ask them to close their eyes and just listen to the music. Allow them to get lost in the journey of sound for the duration of the song. A bell can also be rung at regular intervals. Tell your child that you are going to ring a bell or a tone bar, and that they have to listen and raise their hands once the bell stops. They can be asked to listen to other sounds too before opening their eyes. It can be done in just one or two minutes. You can do the same thing every day. It can also be repeated daily at the same time.
This practice can be done standing up or sitting down anywhere at any time. All you have to do is make sure your kids are still and focusing on their breathing for just one minute. Ask them to breathe in and out slowly. This can also be done in a more playful way by using Breathing Buddy Soft Toys. Have your child lie down on a mat on the floor or on their bed and place their favorite stuffed animal or toy on their belly. Have them notice the movement of their buddy with the movement of their belly as they breathe in and out. This helps them pay attention to their breathing.
This practice is to know and appreciate food. Ask your children to close their eyes. Give them a new fruit or new vegetable or some new dish. Ask them to describe their experience using all five senses. What does it look like? Smell like? Feel like? Taste like? How do they feel while biting it? Ask them to thank God for providing this food.
This practice is to calm down their mind and to reduce their anxiety. Glitter Jar or Mind Jar or Snow Globe can be used for this. It helps for mind settling. Glitter Jar can be shop bought or homemade. Select a mason jar or an empty bottle. Fill it fully with water. Have your children pick three glitter colors – one to represent thoughts, one to represent feelings, and one to represent behaviors. Put few drops of the three colors into the water. Close the bottle. Ask your children to shake the bottle well. Now ask them to watch the colors settling down.
Cultivate Mindfulness In Children
This practice is to develop the love of nature in your kids. Take them to a walk. Ask them to be silent during the walk and ask them to observe things around. Ask them to listen to sounds, see different birds, collect some leaves, to chase butterflies. After the walk ask them to sing a song about what they noticed or draw a picture of it. You can make them count the steps mindfully.
These are my two cents about how to get your children to lead a mindful life. Looking forward to your feedback and comments!
I am Vasantha Vivek. I am a happy woman, daughter, sister, wife, mother, teacher, friend, mentor, seeker and lover. I am a teacher by profession. I was a professor at an Engineering College for nearly 15 years. I learnt a lot as a teacher and hope I have inspired some hearts during this period. Teaching is my passion, reading is my love, cooking is my heart. I enjoy reading and writing very much, so much so that I start & end my days with reading. Now I have started writing also. I blog my sweet nothings at https://vivekvasantha.wordpress.com/