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5 Fun Ways to Introduce Mindfulness To Your Child

When your life feels like it is whizzing around at high speed and everything is just too stressful, too tiring and too tough, it can be difficult to step aside from the onslaught and just be. This is the exact point when you need to embrace mindfulness. But what exactly is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing our awareness on the present moment, of accepting our inner feelings, thoughts and sensations. In essence, it is a therapeutic technique which helps you to escape the outside world and focus on inner peace.

If mindfulness can add to your quality of life, by nurturing your inner peace, enhancing your self-belief and deepening your relationship with others, then it can certainly help your children. Recent research indicates that mindfulness can help children to improve their ability to pay attention, to calm down when they are upset and to make better decisions.

If you feel that mindfulness could help your child there are three key points to understand:

  1. To teach your child you will need to practice mindfulness yourself – start slowly with short meditations and then find simple ways to incorporate these practices into your daily routine.
  2. Make sure you keep it simple – Young children don’t need complicated explanations. Use the fun techniques to help them notice their thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the natural world around them.
  3. The purpose of mindfulness – The purpose is to provide your child with skills to deal with their emotions, recognise their thoughts and learn to control impulsive behaviour.

Now comes the fun part……..

  1. Listening Like Spiderman – This is a simple way to focus on paying attention
  • Sit the children on the floor with their eyes closed.
  • Encourage them to turn on their ‘spidey’ senses and listen to the sounds around them.
  • Use chimes or bell to make an elongated sound.
  • Explain to your child that the goal is to listen carefully and keep their eyes closed until they can no longer hear the sound.
  1. Mindful Posing – Teach them to stand like their favourite Superhero to feel brave and strong
  • Stand with the feet just wider than the hips, fists clenched, and arms reached out, stretching the body out as long as possible.
  • Stand tall with the feet just wider than the hips with hands or fists placed on the hip.
  1. The Breathing Buddy
  • Lie down on the floor with your children and place a favourite soft toy on their chest.
  • Focus on the toy and breathe slowing in and out.
  • Encourage them to concentrate on the toy and how it rises up and down slowly with each breath they take.
  1. Safari Walks – Take a mindful walk
  • Tell your kids that you will be going on a safari.
  • Their first goal is to notice as many sounds as they can – encourage them to spend one minute in silence just listening.
  • The second goal is to focus all their attention on all of the life-forms that they see around To notice the birds, bugs and any other animals that walk, crawl, swim or fly around them and watch how free and happy the creatures are.
  1. Make a Mindful Jar – Our thoughts are like snow globes which swirl around when we feel shaken up
  • Take a jar and fill it almost to the top with water.
  • Shake glitter into the jar.
  • Ask the child to shake the jar and watch the glitter swirling around. Explain that the glitter is like their thoughts and feelings – when we are angry and upset our thoughts are like the glitter swirling around.
  • Place the jar carefully down and watch as the swirling subsides and how gradually the glitter stops moving – explain that if we take a moment to allow our feelings to calm, they become like the glitter and stop swirling around.

These are just five easy techniques which can help your child to begin to notice and focus on their thoughts, feelings and surroundings in order to harness their inner calm and energy. There are plenty more ways to practice mindfulness with your child; through their bedtime routine, meal times and play times.

Above all else keep it simple and keep it fun!

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