Mindfulness is a term that comes up a lot these days but what exactly is it and how can it be of benefit to your child?
To give you a very brief summary, Mindfulness is the practise of being fully present in the moment, aware of our surroundings and what we are doing at that particular point in time. Nowadays, so much of what we call stress is actually worry about what's going to happen or what has already happened. When we're practising mindfulness, we forget all that and concentrate simply on being in the moment. Here at Calme Kids Co, we've been practising mindfulness for years and it's still one of my children's favourite activities of the day.
Children are naturally mindful so it makes perfect sense to introduce them to a regular mindfulness practice at a young age. This way, they can develop skills which they can take through life with them.
Just a few minutes of mindfulness each day can help kids to strengthen their self control, lower feelings of stress and anxiety, help to raise their self esteem and improve their emotional regulation.
Tips For Introducing Mindfulness to Your Child
- Develop your own mindfulness practice
It's difficult to teach anything without having experienced it yourself so this is the perfect opportunity to incorporate mindfulness into your life too. You could start with a few minutes of mindfulness meditation each day or even have a go at some of the mindfulness activities you give to your child so you're both learning together.
- Keep your expectations realistic
A few minutes of mindfulness each day will NOT transform your child into an angel or put a stop to all tantrums and general kid mayhem (sorry). The aim of teaching your child mindfulness is to help them develop the skills they need to become more aware and in touch with themselves rather that transform them into the model child. Having said that, mindfulness activities are a brilliant go-to when things get a bit raucous and you feel they are in need of a little quiet time...
- Let your child experience mindfulness in their own way
As adults, we tend to have pre-conceived ideas of what mindfulness and relaxation exercises should 'look' like. However, your child may have very different views. If they're not sitting the way you would expect or being as quiet as you thought they would, don't worry. There's no 'right' way to practise mindfulness.
- Get some guidance
It can be tricky knowing how to come up with mindfulness activities for kids but there are plenty of resouorces out there to help you. I stock a whole range of printable mindfulness activity cards for both kids and teens in my Etsy shop. They can be downloaded straight away and either printed out to make a set or simply viewed on a phone, tablet or computer screen.
The activities on the cards all get tested out by my own kids so they come with a children's seal of approval!
- Keep sessions short and don't force it
The activities on my mindfulness card sets have been made purposefully short as younger kids often have difficulty concentrating on them for more than a few minutes at a time. If your child wants to carry on for longer that's great but it's a good idea to keep sessions short initially. Older kids and teens are obviously more able to keep their concentration and may well prefer to do the activities alone.
If your child isn't in the mood for mindfulness then don't try to force them. It's meant to be relaxing and fun for your child rather than a chore so if they don't feel like it just drop it and return to it another time.
I sincerely wish you all the best with your new mindfulness practice. I'm sure it will be as beneficial to you and your family as it has been to ours. Once you feel more confident with mindfulness you'll find you're able to come up with your own mindful activities and mindfulness will become second nature to you!
My name is Anna. I'm a designer, relaxation therapist and busy mum of 2.
I produce self care printables for kids, classrooms and families.