10 Ways to Share Mindfulness With Children
Practicing the art of mindfulness is a great way to bring balance and clarity to your life and to the lives of those around you. While millions of adults have found great benefit in practicing mindfulness in their everyday lives, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t some great benefits of mindfulness for children as well.
There has been a great deal of research on the unique benefits that mindfulness can have on children. It can help young people learn to find balance in their lives, to give them the skills needed to develop awareness and to help them be happier, healthier and more focused in their everyday pursuits.
If you are looking for new ways to share mindfulness with your kids, here are some suggestions on how you can bring this practice into your children’s lives.
- Keep it simple. Mindfulness is all about noticing your thoughts. If your kid cannot grasp the word or the concept of mindfulness, just call it awareness practice or noticing practice. The simpler you can keep it the better.
- Practice mindful eating. Encouraging kids to be aware and appreciative of each piece of food that they put in their mouths is a great starting point for introducing mindfulness into their lives. Eating is also a very common part of most kid’s days so it is a great way to make mindfulness part of their day from morning until night.
- Make it part of their routine. If you add the practice of mindful meditation to your child’s bedtime routine or morning routine, it can be come much easier for them to accept this practice as part of their everyday lives.
- Use tools to help them. If your children are struggling with keeping their thoughts focused or mantras, then consider using tools such as a bell to help them stay focused and to keep their mind from wandering.
- Talk about mindfulness. You should also be practicing the art of mindful meditation while your kids do. This can give you something to share in common. Make sure that you are talking to your kids about their practice and your practice so they become more comfortable with the process.
- Bring gratitude into the picture. Gratitude is actually a big part of mindful meditation and it is something that can enhance your child’s practice. As part of their mindfulness training, make sure to teach your children to appreciate the abundance of positive things that they have in their lives from the food on the table to the loving family that surrounds them.
- Go on a mindful walk. This exercise, also known as the safari exercise is a simple yet effective way to teach mindfulness. Go on a walk outside and encourage your kids to notice as many animals as they can outdoors from birds to bugs and everything in between. It will show kids how to be more aware of their surroundings.
- Make mindful meditation a positive experience. If you are trying to introduce mindful meditation to your young children, make sure that you make it a positive experience and that you don’t make it seem like a punishment. Never tell your kids to go sit in a corner and meditate alone when they are being “bad” and always make sure to end their practice with something they enjoy so you can make sure they view meditation as a positive experience.
- Introduce breathing buddies. If you are teaching mindful meditation to young children, consider adding breathing buddies to the mix. These are small stuffed animals that kids can place on their bellies while they start to meditate. Have them lie on their back and watch their buddies move up and down as they breath. This helps kids stay more focused on their breath and makes meditation more fun for little ones.
- Share your experience and struggles with kids. It can be hard for children to get the hang of mindful meditation at first, so make sure that you share your own experiences with them and let them know that it is alright if their minds wander and if they get distracted at first. The more you can do to encourage kids to stay on task, the easier it will be for them to stick with their meditative practices.