The art of being mindful is slowly becoming a regular practice in many schools in the United States. Parents and teachers are starting to see the long-term benefits these practices have on children. Education that that incorporates yoga, meditation, cooking, and gardening are popping up more frequently across all grade levels. Mindfulness has been shown to increase the general well-being and coping ability in children, making them far more adaptable as adults!
Children become capable of practicing mindfulness with the guidance of a parent or caregiver as they develop into early childhood. At this time, they are also capable of retaining some of these skills and turning to them in times of need. Because the habits that our children form early in their lives will influence their behavior in adulthood, our generation has the opportunity to create a world for our kids that more peaceful, kind and accepting.
It is very important that mindfulness is encouraged at home. Unlike music lessons or sports, you can’t hire someone else to teach your child to be mindful. They have to learn it for them themselves by embodying the practice with you. It is a great bonding activity to do with your kids!
Here are a few simple activities to help you child focus on the positive and live in the present moment using mindfulness:
Smell & Tell
Scent is a very a powerful tool and is perfect for practicing for mindful activities, plus it can also relieve anxiety (among other things!) This is one of the easiest mindful games to get the kids involved with and it is great for kids of any age. To play, simply pass a distinct smelling fragrant out to each child (orange peel, jasmine flower, a sprig of mint etc.) Have them close their eyes and breathe in the scent, and ask them to focus all of their attention only on the smell of that object.
The Art Of Touch
Touch is key when it comes to raising mindful children. Like the scent game, this exercise is a simple but compelling way to teach your kids the practice of isolating their senses from one another. To play, give each child an object to touch, such as a feather, a soft plush toy, a stone, slime, etc. Ask them to close their eyes and describe what the object feels like. This helps your children to become more in line with their sense of touch and understand it’s distinct experience.
This game is exactly like it sounds and focuses on your child’s taste buds. This game works best with children who are eating a wide variety of foods and can recognize textures. To play, have your child wear a blindfold and try different foods one at a time. As they chew, ask them to not only describe the taste (salty, sweet, sour) but also the texture of the food (gritty, creamy, dry) Try to use at least 4 different foods at are already a part of their diets. Great foods to use for this mindfulness game include bananas, cereal, yogurt etc. This is an easy game to squeeze in during regular mealtimes and ask your kids to describe you dished as they eat them.
Talk About Feelings
This game is best suited for kids who are a little older, at least 4 years old in age. All you have to do is sit down (or take a walk) and casually ask your children to tell you about his or her feelings. What feelings did they feel today? How do they know they are feeling that way? How long did those feelings last? Which feelings are their favorite?
Simple, right? Even though this feelings exercise requires no additional tools, is usually the hardest game for parents to practice mindfulness with their kids. But it is a very important way to teach your kids to open and honest with you about how they feel. It also gives you the opportunity to teach them how to deal with certain feelings. The goal of mindfulness is to give your kids tools they can use anytime to calm down and feel better when they are troubled.
Ask them makes them feel better when they aren’t feeling their best. Show them how to practice turning their negative feelings into positive ones and how to destress their minds when they are feeling upset.
By teaching our kids these tools during their childhood, we can change their future experiences in life for the better! What activities do you do to practice mindfulness with your kids?
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