Mindfulness isn’t just for adults. Children can see huge benefits from it too. But it can be a bit harder to teach young ones how to be mindful. So here’s a few ideas to get you started.
Create a Bedtime Routine
I mean you probably have one of these for your children already. Maybe for different reasons though. I also suspect it can be a rather rushed process sometimes, in order to get everyone to bed at a decent hour. It might be worth just starting it s little bit earlier and taking some more time over it. Ask the child to describe how the water feels in the bath. What can they smell in the lotions and potions. How does it make them feel? Do the same whilst they drink a warm drink and then when they climb into bed. You might even find they drop off to sleep a bit quicker.
If you find they struggle to switch off, you can download apps which do mindful bedtime stories. Much like the adult ones, they give them a chance to wind down and clear their thoughts before they drop off.
Have a breathing bear
Children can be susceptible to stress and anxiety just like adults. But telling them to take some deep breaths can be a lot harder to explain than to adults. When you’re struggling to get little ones to understand, how about adopting a cuddly toy to help? Having someone to associate with a calm moment can be a powerful tool for small children. Explain to them that when they are holding the bear, the need to take long breaths in and out. Show them how to do it and repeat a couple of times with them. Soon they will get the hang of it and they will have a reassuring pal when they need to chill out for a bit.
Go on a walk
Much like adults, getting a breath of fresh air can do wonders for children. But instead of letting them run off, talk to them. Ask them what they can hear, see and smell. Investigate how the bark on a tree feels and ask them to describe it to them. Get them to count how many shades of green they can see. By carrying out these activities they are living in the moment, and certainly being more mindful.
Use a personal weather report
Sometimes little ones find it hard to explain how they are feeling. This is where the weather report can be a fantastic tool. Make up a chart that is easy for them to see and reach. Sunny is happy, rainy is sad and thunderstorms are angry. You can use other types of weather to fill in the gaps. Then, when they don’t know how to explain how they are feeling, ask them to tell you what weather they are. They can either tell you directly or point to the chart. It can make resolving issues much more easy if you know what is going on in their little heads.
Much like going for a walk, why not try having a mindful meal? Turn the TV off and ask the children to describe what they see, feel, smell and taste. Cook a range of different foods and try to get your children to describe textures
Hopefully you will find some or all of those ideas useful. If we can teach the next generation early they will benefit from having these skills when they start getting exposed to the stresses and strains of adult life.
Do you have any other ideas? Let us all know in the comments!