The phenomenon of mindfulness has skyrocketed in last decade or so. More people are being more intentional about their thoughts, their bodies, and their actions. The concept of mindfulness is simple yet powerful, it is about being self-aware in all aspects of life and being fully present in all that you do. Simple to explain but difficult to live out. As adults, parents, professionals we can see the benefits of being more mindful, but is this something that can be taught to kids? My answer, YES! Take it slow, keep it simple and practice with them. As a child and family therapist, I believe it is better to introduce healthy concepts early so that it can be a part of the child’s future. Here are 3 ways to start teaching your kids’ mindfulness.
- Listen to sounds. An easy way for children to practice mindfulness is to focus on paying attention to what they can hear. You can use an array of instruments, a bell, a set of chimes or a phone app that has sounds on it. Tell your child(ren) that you will make the sound, and they are to listen carefully until they can no longer hear the sound. I suggest keeping the sound going between 30 seconds to a minute.
- Practice teddy bear breathing. Have your child(ren)grab a stuffed animal, and lay down on their back with their stuffed animal on their belly. They focus their attention on the rise and fall of the stuffed animal as they breathe in and out. This also helps to create a visual of how big a calming breath should be!
- Try the Spiderman meditation! This meditation teaches children to activate their “spidey-senses” and their ability to focus on all they can smell, taste, and hear in the present moment. This can be adapted to almost any superhero or Disney character, choose something your child will like!
Beginning a mindfulness practice with your child does not have to be hard, in fact, it can be fun! Start today and share your experience.
Until next time,
LeNaya Smith Crawford, MAMFT, CYT