Mindfulness for children is something that has become increasingly important in the last year due to pandemic. Children have experienced increased anxiety levels with schools closed and the lack of interaction with other children.
Mindfulness is closely linked to your senses and is about learning to focus on the present. Improving a child’s attention and focus can only be a good thing. If they can learn to notice and admire the small things in life then it will help to bring contentment and happiness in the future. It’s also a way of making children aware of their own bodies and a tool for managing their emotions.
Having some simple mindfulness activities up your sleeve is a great tool for calming excited or anxious children.
You probably already do it yourself … to hold your babies attention have you ever held them and sang Round and Round the Garden whilst using your finger to make circular patterns on their hands? That’s mindfulness. It’s getting your baby to focus on a particular part of their body making them forget any distractions.
Colouring – A very simple but powerful technique allowing the children on the moment.
Music – Any type of music works, it could be classical or pop music, rock or jazz. Turn it up so your children lose themselves in the rhythm of the music. Dancing freely releases endorphins and can boost you are your children’s happiness.
Whisper – Whisper to your children so they have to focus on your lips to see what you’re saying.
Clapping – Ask your children to follow your slow clapping rhythm. Keep their focus by changing the rhythm of the clap. Ask them to keep their hands near to their face so they concentrate on their hands. Ask them how their hands feel, are they tingly, tickly, prickly? This exercise is creating a sensation to focus their attention on.
Hand Tracing – Ask your child to hold their hand out and trace the outside of their thumb and fingers. Start at the bottom of their thumb and trace upwards and around each finger slowly. Older children will be able to do this themselves, using alternate hands. Help them breathe in an out in while they concentrate on the feeling on their hand.
Bubbles – Ask your child to imagine happy thoughts floating off within each bubble. Watch them float away and talk about the kind thoughts we wish for others within each bubble. Share your wishes with your children.
Copying – Take your children by surprise and see how long it takes them to notice you holding your finger to your nose! Once you have their attention, use your eyes to encourage them to do the same. Silently, point to your ears, and then put your finger on your lips to encourage a moment of quiet.
Yawning – Pretend to do a HUGE yawn! Ask the children to stretch their jaw as wide as it will go, stretch their arms and fingers above their head. When they drop their hands back down, ask them how they feel.
Clouds – Lay on a blanket and watch the clouds go by. Talk about why they appear to be moving. Can you see any animal shapes?
Tight Squeeze – Whilst laying down, start with your toes, squeeze them as tightly as you can, give them a wiggle, and then take a deep breathe as you relax them. Repeat the process with your legs, bottom, tummy, hands, shoulders, mouth, and lastly forehead.
Here are some relaxation techniques for all of the family.