What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through.
Mindfulness can add to the quality of our lives in numerous ways. In children specifically, mindfulness can:
- Enhance focus by reducing attention problems.
- Improve mental health, well-being, and social skills.
- Assist in the regulation of emotions.
- Improve self-awareness.
- Increase self-confidence.
It is important to provide age-appropriate mindfulness practices for children.
The Mindfulness Practices include, but are not limited to, deep breathing exercises, yoga poses and games, brain breaks, sensory tools and experiences, and guided relaxation practices.
For a Healthy Child:
Brain Health: Learning new things each day keeps their minds active. To get creative, they can make, draw, write, or color something. Games also let the brain think in a different way. Having fun helps them to become smarter. Encourage them to try to find something without using phone, iPad, or TV.
Physical Health: Support your child to move their bodies every day by doing things like walking, running, swimming, practicing yoga, or dancing. It is important to eat a nutritious diet to fuel their bodies as well as to drink enough water. Let them take time to relax at the end of each day before sleep. Motivate your child to go to bed early enough to get 8-10 hours of sleep.
Emotional Health: It is very beneficial not only for adults but also for children to sit for a few minutes each day to practice breathing. Here are some ideas for parents and teachers to guide children for emotional awareness:
- “Talk kindly to yourself either in your head or out loud.”
- “Take a moment each day to think of someone or something you are thankful for.”
- “Do not compare yourself to others as you are perfect as you are.”
- “Take time by yourself to write how you feel.”
- “Use your belly breathing to tune into how you feel. Ask yourself:
How does your mind feel?……
How does your body feel?……
How does your heart feel?……”
4 Mindful Activities for Kids
1- When Your Child or Student Feels Sad, Mad, Worried, You can Guide Them to:
- Stretch or Do Yoga
- Ask for Help
- Help Someone
- Take 5 Deep Breaths
- Do a Puzzle
- Build Something
- Give Yourself a Hug
- Hug a Stuffed Animal
- Ask for Help
- Think of 3 Things You are Grateful For
- Try 5 Finger Breathing
- Treat Yourself with Kindness
- Just Breathe
- Read a Book
- Draw or Color
- Get a Drink of Water
- Tell Yourself a Positive Affirmation
- Write a Journal
2- Self-Awareness Diary:
The children may keep a diary and think about the sentences like the followings:
- “I feel good when…”
- “I am proud of myself because…”
- “I am unique because…”
- “Something that went well today was…”
- “I had fun when…”
- “The best part of today was…”
- “I learned from this mistake…”
- “I feel strong when…”
- “I love it when…”
- “I like this about myself…”
- “A quality I am learning is…”
- “My biggest accomplishment this week was…”
- “Something I love about my life is…”
- “Today was interesting because…”
- “I am grateful for…”
- “I showed kindness today by…”
3- Gratitude Scavenger Hunt:
Every day when they come home from school or when they come to your kids’ yoga class, you can ask at least two questions to make them think about gratitude and gain awareness:
- Something that makes you happy
- Something to give to someone else to make them smile
- One thing that you love to smell
- One thing you enjoy looking at
- Something that is your favorite color
- Something you are thankful for in nature
- Something that is useful for you
4- Five Senses Scavenger Hunt:
Sometimes when they are very tired and have difficulty in focusing, you can bring them back to the moment with their 5 senses.
Fill your backpack with:
- Something you see
- Something you smell
- Something you hear
- Something you taste
- Something you feel
For more information about mindfulness for kids, please take a look at the other articles.