6 mindfulness activities for kids

Life is just busy. We all know that. There are just too many things to do – and not enough hours in the day to do them all. And because you barely have time to breathe (let alone soak up every second with your little ones), it’s understandable that mindfulness might not even really matter to you right now. These are the years when you are righteous in it, try to just survive everything. But being present is so, so important, not only for you as a parent, but also for your child. These mindfulness activities for kids will be beneficial not only for them but for your whole family.

Before you can give your child some mindfulness activities, it’s a good idea to practice it yourself as a parent, Shikha Arastogi, a life coach, tells Romper. “In those moments of anger, when you want to yell and yell at your child’s behavior, take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to calm down,” says Arastogi. “That way, instead of reacting, you choose to respond with love to your child’s behavior.” And that way, you automatically teach your child to practice mindfulness.

But what is mindfulness?

If mindfulness sounds like something you need a yoga studio and life coach for, think again. You can be mindful almost anywhere, and all it takes is just being aware of yourself. “Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of our own thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations in the moment,” Sara Anderson, LPC, NCC, CAC II CYT, a Licensed Professional Counselor, tells Romper. “For children, this means learning how to regulate themselves, which is one of the most important tools children can develop because it allows them to express their feelings without acting them out.” When a child learns to be mindful, Acting out of behaviors decreases, learning increases, and, according to Anderson, positive relationships between parents and children and between children and peers grow.

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What are the benefits of mindfulness activities

Some people live their entire lives on just the surface of everything, rarely doing the deep dives necessary to connect with their own emotions and trying to tame thoughts they’d rather not have. Mindfulness, on the other hand, encourages you to embrace it Everyone. “Regardless of age, when a person practices mindfulness, they learn to develop a healthy relationship with their mind. This allows the person to view their mind and the thoughts it generates from the perspective of love rather than fear,” says Arastogi. “And when you look at your thoughts from the perspective of love, don’t get carried away by your thinking, especially your negative thinking—you learn to make peace with your negative thinking as you practice mindfulness.” For example, if you Practice mindfulness, learn that negative thoughts are not scary; they are only part of the human experience. In turn, don’t spend your life fighting the negative Nancy running amok in your head, but instead look at her with grace and compassion.

What mindfulness activities are there for children?

1. Storytelling

It’s so easy to curl up on the couch and stream shows with your kid. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, turn off the TV for a while and practice storytelling instead. But instead of telling stories about other people, certified happiness coach Robin Shear suggests sharing stories in which your family members are the main characters. “When families tell stories about fictional, unattached characters, the end result could be escape, which might be fun but doesn’t improve mindfulness,” she says. “However, when parents and children are the subjects of their own stories, they can tell stories to explore how they are feeling in the moment and see things without judgment. This builds trust and understanding, allowing families to be more mindful, connected and therefore happier.”

By giving your child the floor to tell their own stories, they not only learn to be present, but reap other benefits – like better listening, to start with. “While it’s clear that stories about family members might draw us in and help us listen better, perhaps hearing stories about ourselves would help us listen to ourselves better and bolster our sense of worth and worth,” Shear continues . And if there happens to be a tiny protagonist in that story, they may feel happier, lighter, and even more empathetic as they learn to be kinder to others — and to themselves, too.

2. Sit still for 5 minutes

Doing nothing sounds heavenly, but not when you’re sitting with a fidgety 4-year-old. But get your kid to come next to you and just relax together. “For those 5 minutes, try to stay calm and breathe deeply,” advises Arastogi. “To focus on your breathing, you and your child can count the number of deep breaths you both took in those five minutes.” When the five minutes are up, don’t automatically jump up and run away. No, talking about what you felt in those five minutes is the best part of this mindfulness practice. “Discuss how you both felt inside your body, and remember, don’t judge your child or yourself in what you both share,” she says. It makes you more aware and when you are aware everything that is going on in your mind and body no longer seems scary.” Not only does this daily practice connect your child to their body and mind, it also creates a connection to both of you.

3. Making friends with feelings

Feelings can be fun, but they can also be frustrating or even scary. Mindfulness allows both you and your child to be curious about these emotions and what they really mean, says Dr. Amy Saltzman, MD, physician, mindfulness coach, and author. Once your child has found the breath in their belly and is resting in stillness and stillness, it is time to identify emotions for what they are and start naming them to make it easier for your child. “Some feelings have common names, such as B. angry, happy, sad or excited, and others have more unusual names like stormy, effervescent, fiery or empty,” says Saltzman. “Once you’ve turned your kind and curious attention to a specific feeling and named it, notice where the feeling lives in your body: sitting in your chest, moving in your stomach, pounding in your head, and how the emotion is feeling settle into your body.” By recognizing what the emotion feels like (i.e., hard, heavy, warm, jagged, cold, soft, etc.), you can get your child thinking about the feeling rather than experiencing it. You can also ask your child if there is a color that correlates with the feeling and if the feeling has a sound (e.g. crying, whimpering, giggling, crying).

“To end the exercise, notice how you’re feeling now and congratulate yourself for taking the time to deal with and befriend your feelings,” Saltzman says. “Then bring your attention back to the breath and rest in stillness and stillness a little longer.” This teaches your child that you can have your feelings without your feelings having anything she.

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4. Practice grounding with the five senses

It’s crazy how we can detach not only from our feelings but also from our own body. That’s why reconnecting with your five senses is one of the most important mindfulness activities for kids you can help your child with — and easy to do, according to Melissa Bailey, LMHC, a licensed mental health counselor. Your child can start by noticing five things they can see in the room, like the family pet or their favorite toy. Then notice four things they can touch or feel (e.g. their feet on the hardwood floor, grass between their toes, the sun on their face, or their hands in their pockets). “Then notice three things that you can hear (e.g. the noise of the fan, a lawn mower outside, a ticking clock, etc.)” says Bailey. “Next, try to notice two things you can smell (the smell of a nearby candle, the smell of something cooking), and lastly, one thing you can taste (the lingering taste of breakfast, etc.). “

Aside from remembering the syrupy waffles they ate, this exercise will get your child (and you) to slow down and pay attention to the world in a whole new way. It allows your child to be in the moment, in total harmony with their five fabulous senses.

5. Perform a HALT check-in

An acronym for finding out if you’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired. The HALT self-test can get you to calm down faster in just a few minutes. And if you don’t have a lot of time to be mindful, this is the only activity that can quickly transform your emotional well-being. “If you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, rushed, nervous, or irritable, do a system check with HALT,” advises Anderson. “Ask yourself and your child how you are feeling right now: hungry? angry lonely? Weary? Then ask, What can we do about it?” Sometimes uncomfortable emotions don’t come from something ingrained, but just from a hard moment (like when your child is cranky because they wanted an extra cookie or skipped their afternoon nap). By checking to see if they need a cuddle or a nap first, it can help your child feel better right away.

6. Smile from the inside out

Think about it: We’re often forced to smile even when we don’t want to (like all those times you tell your child to say “Cheese!” for a picture when they’re pouting). However, by doing so, we can lose touch with what a real, real, happy smile looks and feels like. This is what makes an Inside the Smile mindfulness activity a really cool and helpful activity. “Close your eyes and put a little smile on your face,” says Anderson. “Notice what a smile is like from within, in your face and in your feelings.” Then take it a step further and talk to your child about things that make them smile, like the smell of cookies or a walk with your dog in nature. Your child can learn to appreciate some of the simpler things that happen during the day and feel a greater connection to their own happiness.

Even if it feels like one more thing, mindfulness can have a huge impact on how your child thinks about themselves, how they manage and process their own emotions, and even how they interact with others. By deliberately slowing down, it allows you to experience more joy in everyday life. and the should be at the top of every to-do list.

Questioned sources:

Sara Anderson, LPC, NCC, CAC II CYT, a Licensed Professional Advisor

Shikha Arastogi, Life Coach

Robin Shear, a certified Joy Coach

dr Amy Saltzman, MD, physician, mindfulness coach, and author

Melissa Bailey, LMHC, a licensed mental health counselor

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