With the rise of the importance of holistic health, meaning physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, mindfulness became a more commonly used practice. This doesn’t only benefit adults, but kids as well! Out of mindfulness, kids will be more focused, do better in school, and handle stress well, among other benefits of mindfulness. This blog will enumerate 5 mindfulness tips for kids.
What is Mindfulness?
Some people interchange mindfulness with meditation. According to headspace.com, mediation is about developing awareness and a healthy sense of perspective, as well as learning to observe feelings without passing judgment. It’s very similar to Michael Chaskalson’s definition in his book of mindfulness as the sense of awareness that comes from paying attention to yourself, others, and the world around you in a particular way is known as mindfulness. Mindfulness is all about awareness; being honest with and kind to what one is currently experiencing.
Why Teach Children Mindfulness
As they grow, your kids will encounter their own challenges, and you want to equip them with good well-being. We have a better chance of helping kids establish resilience to deepen and enhance their mindfulness practice as they get older if we start early in their lives. Teaching mindfulness to children can also assist shape three important skills: focus, adaptability, and appropriate behaviour.
5 Mindfulness Tips for Kids
Do Breathing Exercises Together
Breathing exercises will help your kids become aware of it which ultimately relaxes tension. There are many types of breathing meditation, but we personally recommend belly breathing. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. After which, inhale to fill up the belly like a balloon, then exhale to let the balloon collapse. Most of us breathe shallowly into our chests most of the time, so this can feel like a struggle at first.
A variation of belly breathing is a 3-Breath Hug. First, take three intentional, coordinated, deep breaths together while embracing your child. Secondly, relax any stiff muscles by lowering your shoulders. Relax and feel the tension subside. With this, use it to say goodbye in the morning, when you notice someone who could benefit from a relaxing hug, or simply for the sake of it.
Influence Kids to Observe
Since mindfulness is largely about awareness, observing is another practice of mindfulness. Teach your child that whenever they have the spare moment of waiting, to pause and be aware of the surroundings. Observe the five senses, and share what these to their friends or even to you.
One example of an observing activity would be doing weaving. This weaving kit by Numbulwar Numburindi Arts from Rilley Callie is a wonderful tool for this exercise. Tell your child to focus on weaving, and also ask how the fibres feel in their fingers, what can they see in the fibres they are weaving with and what they think about it whilst doing the practice. Also, weaving and meditation are intertwined within the Aboriginal culture. (learn more about weaving practices for kids or adults @ Ngumpie Weaving
Nature is also a good environment to practice mindfulness through observing. Take a walk in the bush or on the beach. Look at a beautiful tree. Feel the grass. Listen to the sound of the rain. Appreciating nature can elevate your child’s mood.
Encourage Kids to Acknowledge Feelings
An important aspect of observing is feeling. Ask your child to identify what they are exactly feeling at the moment: are they feeling angry? Tensed? Disappointed? Allow them to be honest about what they feel, and discuss where they feel this emotion, in there gut, head or heart and then bring them back to a breathing or movement exercise dependent on the emotion that is needing to be released. This will release the tension that they are experiencing within their minds and bodies. It is a good mindfulness practise for kids.
Get a Mindful Snack
Your kids can achieve mindfulness with an eating exercise. An eating exercise is an opportunity for your child to identify what they are experiencing. It’s a way to notice what you’ve noticed.
Get a food as simple as a snack: like a sultana, an apple or a musli bar. If you have a toddler, this may come naturally to you because toddlers eat at a relatively slow rate. As children get older, they may require a gentle reminder to slow down. Use your senses to observe the food together. Also, take your time with the initial few bites, paying close attention to the sight, fragrance, feel, and taste.
Try Mindfulness Movement
Children may check in with their bodies and get moving in a way that can help them reduce stress, release stagnant energy, and enhance their mind-body connection through mindful movement. When we participate in mindful movement to help our bodies relax, our mood often improves as well.
How to Practise Mindfulness Movement for Kids
Move, stretch, and notice body sensations. Because of this, teach your children to observe and appreciate all that our bodies are capable of and do for us. We mentioned stretching. For instance, do some stretching with your child and let them notice what they feel with their muscles, skin, or body feels during and after a practice.
Meditation, Mindfulness and Aboriginal Culture
Meditation and mindfulness is also part of Aboriginal culture. One example is the “Dadirri”, an Aboriginal meditative practice that literally means “deep listening and silent awareness”. Miriam Rose Baumann, from the community of Nauiyu, south of Darwin shares the importance of meditation and Aboriginal culture.
"It's about, I suppose, the make-up of who Aboriginal people are and it's about belonging as well … and just continuously making yourself aware of where you've come from, why you are here, where are you going now and where you belong,"
Mindfulness will benefit your child’s well-being. Through breathing, observing, feeling, eating, and moving exercises, you and your child will not only have mindfulness, but will also have the opportunity to bond together, connect with nature.