Mindfulness is a term that’s being used more and more frequently every day and in all types of places – you might come across it in the news, in the workplace, with friends, and even in your children’s classrooms.
So… what exactly is it?
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, or bodily sensations.
Studies have seen wonderful benefits of practicing mindfulness, especially amongst children. A quick daily mindfulness practice can see kids reduce stress and anxiety, increase concentration and engagement, sleep better and improve social skills.
But the idea of getting excitable kids full of energy to sit still and listen to their inner thoughts while doing a yoga pose seems a little tricky right? So we’ve done the research for you and discovered 5 easy and fun ways to practice mindfulness exercises with your children.
5 Mindfulness Exercises to try with your Children:
1. The Art of Touch
Give each child an object to hold, such as a ball, a feather, a soft toy, a stone, etc. Ask them to close their eyes and describe what the object feels like to a partner. Then have the partners trade places. This exercise is a simple, but interesting way to teach kids the practice of isolating their senses from one another, and tuning into distinct experiences.
2. Mindful Posing
An easy way for children to have a little go at practicing mindfulness is through the simple method of body poses. To get your kids interested, tell them that doing fun poses can help them feel strong, brave, and happy.
Have them go somewhere quiet and familiar. Next, tell them to try one of the following two poses:
The Superman: stand with the feet a little wider than the hips, fists clenched, and arms reached out, stretching the body out as long as possible.
The Wonder Woman: stand tall with legs wider than hip-width apart and hands or fists placed on the hips.
3. The Heartbeat Exercise
Have the kids jump up and down in place for one minute. Then have them sit back down and place their hands on their hearts. Tell them to close their eyes and feel their heartbeats, their breath, and see what else they notice about their bodies.
4. Belly Buddies
Grab a small stuffed toy or some small light-weight objects like little bean bags or blocks. Ask your children to lie on their backs and place the toy or object on top of their belly buttons.
Take your children through a guided breathing activity, encouraging them to breathe in and out, and encouraging them to watch the object as it moves up and down with their breath.
5. Listen to the Bell
An easy way for children to practice mindfulness is to focus on paying attention to what they can hear. For this exercise you could use a singing bowl, a bell, a set of chimes or even a phone app.
Tell your children that you will make the sound, and they should listen carefully until they can no longer hear the sound (which is usually 30 seconds to a minute).
This exercise does have a calming effect on most children, and it’s a fun way to teach them to pay attention to their surroundings.
Thanks to these wonderful articles for the inspiration on mindfulness exercises!