It would be wonderful if our children were focused, calm, and in control, as well as more self-aware. Mindfulness is an approach that can teach and strengthen those abilities over time. Practicing mindfulness can help children become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, sensations and even their environment around them. It helps children to re-focus and re-center on the present, instead of the past or future. Mindfulness is something that is never mastered, but instead strengthened and improved the more your child does it. All children benefit from practicing mindfulness. Below are a few ways you can develop mindfulness in your child.
#1 Coloring: Gather any coloring books or pages that you may have. Allow your child to choose what they would like to color. Have whatever coloring materials available that are age appropriate for your child. Encourage them to color quietly, and if they make a mistake to take a deep breath and move on. Mindfulness is a focus on the experience without making judgements.
#2 Mindfulness 5-4-3-2-1: This technique is a great way to ground your child, especially if your child needs help with managing anxiety or anger. Have your child look around them and find five things they can see, four things the can touch, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste. They will be more calm and present by the time they have found and listed them all.
#3 Dragon Breathing: A large part of mindfulness is teaching your child to control their own breathing. Younger children will take part if you make it fun! Dragon breathing is simple. Have your child sit up straight, take a deep breath, stick their tongue out and then breath out like a dragon. It might seem silly but it helps your child with deep breathing at a level they can understand. And it’s fun!
#4 Practice Yoga: Teach your child a few simple yoga poses like tree, warrior, or half-moon pose. Spend 10 minutes practicing. If you are unsure of poses just search for an easy video and watch while you practice together. Below is a list of books that we have available to help teach your child mindfulness:
My Magic Breath by Nick Ortner
Breathe Like A Bear by Kira Willey
I Am Peace- A book About Mindfulness by Susan Verde
Puppy Mind by Andrew Jordan Nance
Zen Pig by Mark Brown
Itsy Bitsy Yoga for toddlers and preschoolers by Helen Garabedian
I Am Yoga by Susan Verde
Yoga Bug: Simple Poses for Little Ones by Sarah Jane Hinder
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