Kids in this generation are equipped with brains which require more hard work compared to before. They seem to have more jam-packed school activities and they are more exposed to different gadgets around them that steal their attention and results to a difficult quite time hard to come by. As a result, kids are trained to be still through mindfulness. Mindfulness helps in increasing the quality of the life you are living in various ways, from nurturing a sense of inner peace to improving the quality of a workout, from developing self-confidence to facilitating deeper and more meaningful relationships with others.
To be specific, it has been found that children with mindfulness can:
- Make the effects of bullying less severe
- Help in the development of focus and concentration of children diagnosed with ADHD
- Lessen problems of attention span
- Help in improving mental health as well as the wellbeing
- Also improve social skills when taught well and practiced in children and adolescents.
Mindfulness practices through small tools such as pictures, objects, food, simple movements, and music helps in developing your child’s ability to focus their attention at a great level. A great example is an activity called Belly Buddies. This activity is focused on letting the children listen to music while asking them to notice the sensation of a small tone on their stomachs when it rises and falls as they breathe. Similar mindfulness activities like this one can result to long-lasting developmental benefits especially when practiced regularly.
The practices in mindfulness can be through physical activities, applications, techniques or anything that could definitely hep your kid improve their attention span, focus, and concentration. Below are some of the things you should try on your child to help them develop their mindfulness.
- Mindful Breathing. This exercise is the very basic step in starting to learn mindfulness. There are different ways to help your child practice mindful breathing and some are videos. For instance, there is a video that has content that teaches viewers to do a breathing meditation by instructing them to imagine a sailboat that rises and falls as they breathe. With this, kids also get an opportunity to envision their breath as a color and focus on the experience of their breath moving through their nostrils.
- Body Scan. After the mindful breathing, body scan is the next basic practice in developing mindfulness and this is an easy exercise to teach them. First step is by having your kids lie down on their back on a comfortable surface and let them close their eyes. Next is instructing your child to squeeze their muscles, all of them, as tight as they can. Instruct them then to squish their toes and feet and squeeze their hands into fists and lastly make their legs and arms as hard as stone. After a few seconds of doing this, have them relax their body for a few minutes and then for the last step, have them think about how their body is feeling throughout the activity.
- Heartbeat Exercise. Next activity in developing mindfulness is by doing an exercise that increases or changes the normal rhythm of the heartbeat. For example, doing jumping jacks for a minute. After this, instruct your kids to close their eyes and pay attention solely on their heartbeats and may be their breaths as well. This exercise helps children in developing their focus and helps them too in doing more advanced mindfulness activities.
- Mindfulness for Children: Meditation for Kids. After trying out the basic mindfulness exercises mentioned, your child is now ready for a step up in his activities. One way of practicing mindfulness is by using a mobile application. This Mindfulness for Children app can be downloaded in both Android and Apple app stores with multiple versions available. The app also comes with a free version or a paid one with more features that also helps in developing mindfulness for your child. The app is focused on guided meditation that is designed to help children wind down before bed. The app also includes relaxing nature sounds nd instructions in a plain language that children are able to understand.
- Smiling Minds App. This is another application that is popular among those who practice and develop mindfulness even for children as young as seven years old. The app can be downloaded in the Google Play Store as well as in the Apple App Store for free. The app offers similar features to the Mindfulness for Children app but with a few extra like the body scan feature.
- Still Quiet Place. Aside from applications, you can also use videos to help your child develop their mindfulness just like the Mindfulness Exercises for Kids: Still Quiet Place. The video is focused on teaching children on how to go to a still quiet place through cute characters, fun colors, and imagery.
- Peace Out. Peace out i a video collection of relaxation guides for your child. Being relaxed helps your child to learn being sill and calm given various circumstances and also develops mindfulness in them.
- Blowing Bubbles. Aside from using mobile applications and video watching, playing physical games are also helpful in making your child obtain mindfulness. By blowing bubbles, you can teach and encourage them to pay attention to the bubbles as they form, detach, and pop or float away. With this, they can practice giving mindful attention to a certain thing for an unspecified time.
- Similar to blowing bubbles, encourage your child to give mindful attention to the pinwheels.
- Playing with Balloons. In this game, tell your child that the main goal is to keep the balloon from touching the ground but have them in a slow and gentle manner. If it helps, tell them that the balloon is a fragile thing.
- Texture Bag. This activity or game helps your child develop their sense of touch. To do this, place different and interestingly shaped objects in a bag, and have your child reach in to touch an object one at a time and instruct them to describe what they are touching. Always make sure that your child would not take the object out of the bag.
- Taste Tests. In this activity, the use of a blindfold is needed for each child and have them experience eating a small portion of a food or a small food like raisin or a cranberry as if it was their first time eating it.
- Mindful Posing. This activity is also one of the best to get your children into mindfulness. To make them interested in the activity, tell them that doing this will help them feel strong, brave, and happy. Before doing the poses, have them go a place where it is quiet and familiar and makes them feel safe. Tell them then they can do mindful posing. The poses are The Superman and The Wonder Woman. The Superman can be done by standing with feet with distance a little wider than the hips, fists clenched, and arms reached out, stretching the body as long as possible. The Wonder Woman on the other hand is done by standing tall with legs wider than the hip-width apart and hands or fists placed on the hips.
- Spidey Senses. Aside from the superheroes mentioned, another action figure you can use in developing your child’s mindfulness is Spiderman. This exercise will help your kids develop their attention to the present. To do this, tell your kids to turn on their spidey senses just like Spiderman. These senses are the super-focused senses of smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch that Spiderman uses to keep tabs on the world around him. With this, your child will be encouraged then to pause and focus their attention on what is happening in the present, opening their awareness to the information their senses are bringing.
- Mindful Jar. This is an activity that teaches your child about breathing and helps them in relaxing and also helps in developing their patience. Your mindful jar is made by filling a clear jar with water and a spoonful of glitter glue. Let your child then shake the mindful jar and let them see the sparkles caused by the glitters fly around. Say something to them then relating the sparkly bits and their emotions, thoughts, and feelings when they are angry or frustrated. Similar to the flying sparkles, that is how messed up their mind can be when they are stressed out. Tell them then to breathe quietly for a few minutes until the glitters settle in the jar. They can then find themselves calmer.
- What’s in the Box? A classic game where you put something unexpected in a box like paper clips, coins, or anything. Ask your child then on what could be inside of the box. This activity helps your child to focus on their emotions thus results in them understanding their feelings.
- Visit Zen Den. This is a channel on YouTube where the content is mostly on introducing mindfulness to children ages five and above.
- Sound Hunt. Another exercise that will help in developing your child’s senses as well as their awareness of the surroundings. To conduct this, go for a walk with your child and pause every now and then and focus on listening to the tune un your surroundings. Make your child then create a note of what they hear.
- Mandala Colouring. Unlike ordinary colouring books, mandala has plenty of intricate shapes, patterns, and designs that help your child to be present and focus on the present time which is the whole point of mindfulness.
- Kind Wishes. This activity helps your child in practicing kind thoughts as they think of at least five people they want to send kind wishes too.
- Sky Shapes. As you lay down flat in a clean ground, have your child explore different shapes in the sky and have them choose what object it may look like. This helps your child in developing his creativeness and also his mindfulness.
- Sense of Smell. Have your child develop his sense of smell by letting him go with you as you cook and let him take note of what smell he is smelling so that he can easily identify it the next time.
- Teach your child to be grateful as you teach him or her explore the things you are grateful for and go back and forth for as long as there is something they are grateful for. It could be something small or something grand.
- Snack Time. You can always make snack time productive by instructing your kids to describe the snack or food they are eating. This too is a good conversation you can have with your kid.
- Weather Report. In telling you how your child might feel or have been feeling for the day, have them tell you their condition in a manner similar to how weather reporters do weather reports. For example, “I am dark and cloudy with some raindrop tears coming out”, is a good statement for saying, “I am very sad at the moment and I am about to cry.”
- This Safari exercise is one way to have fun while helping your kids learn mindfulness. This helps make an average outside walk more exciting and less boring. To do this, tell your child that you are about to go to a safari and their mission is they have to notice as many creatures as they can.
- Wellness Works in Schools. This one is a course of a class which teaches children to increase their self-regulation and executive function. Aside from developing mindfulness, this also helps children with anxiety.
- MindUP Curriculum. This curriculum by Hawn Foundation is composed of courses that help children in managing their stress levels as they grow up.
- MonkeyMind and Me: A Mindfulness Course for Children. Alongside with other courses, this is also a popular course that helps children in learning how to meditate and practice mindfulness over eight one hour sessions held over eight weeks.
- Some moms find it hard to teach their child mindfulness at a very young age. However, there is a solution for them to get interested with the other mindfulness activities when they start early. To get them interested at a very young age, meditation is the best way. Teaching your child to meditate is not easy but they will eventually learn.
And there you have it! With these activities, you can slowly teach your child how to develop mindfulness for better focus, longer attention span, and great concentration.