Mindfulness is the art of being in the present moment. Through mindfulness, we become aware of our thoughts, our body, and our feelings. It teaches us to be more conscious of whatever is happening within ourselves and our surroundings. Brain studies show that mindfulness profoundly alters the functionality of the brain, improving the quality of both thought and feeling.
Schools across the country are starting to teach mindfulness to their pupils with excellent results. Mindfulness helps children by:
- Reducing worries, stress and anxiety
- Reducing reactivity, distress and bad behaviour
- Improving sleep
- Improving self-regulation, awareness and focus
- Helping children to understand their emotions
- Bringing about a greater sense of calmness, relaxation and self-esteem
Children will always be children and they will continue to have their tantrums and their normal difficulties, however, mindfulness can really support them with these processes by helping them to notice their inner and outer experiences, to see thoughts as “just thoughts” and by helping them understand their emotions in their bodies.
So, how can you teach mindfulness to your children in a fun and engaging way? Try the following exercises with your little ones!
- The Spiderman Meditation: This meditation helps children to activate their “Spidey-senses” (the super-focused senses of Spiderman): smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch. Ask them to focus on what they sense, this will help them to stay in touch with their experiences and be in the present moment. Spiderman costumes welcome!
- Checking your personal weather report: Ask the little ones to sit down and close their eyes. Encourage them to tell you the weather report that best describes their feelings like sunny, rainy, calm, windy, or stormy. This allows children to observe their emotions without being totally immersed in them for example, a child might note it is raining, but he is not the rain.
- Breathing buddies: Ask your children to lie down and put a stuffed animal on top of their belly. Tell them to breathe and to notice how their breathing buddy goes up and down as their belly moves. Ask them to put each thought they have in a bubble or cloud and to see it floating away. This is a very friendly and playful mindfulness exercise!
As you can see, mindfulness can be fun and the exercises are very easy to practice. Above all, remember to keep it light and playful. Ensure your little one doesn’t feel forced to do it and never use it as a punishment.
Have fun with it!