Giving our child the tools they need to deal with an overly stimulated, tech driven, and loud world is beyond valuable. Especially when you throw in curve balls like a global pandemic and a very different school environment. So how do we teach and show our children how nurturing it can be to live in and gently accept our present moment? It seems like a daunting task. Here are a few simple ways to begin cultivating a mindfulness practice with children — to make your home a more peaceful place.
Breath Is Powerful
Once we become aware and intentional of our inhale and exhale our mind and body follow. By deepening and slowing down our breath, our mind begins to shift into a more focused space and our nervous system begins to slow down. Just simply reminding yourself to inhale and exhale is a simple way to practice mindfulness with your kids.
Try it with younger children
Using a scarf in front of your child’s face or over their head, see if they can move the scarf by breathing in and out.
Something like a mini sphere can simulate getting bigger as you breathe in and smaller as you breathe out. Either you can manipulate the sphere or your child can as they breathe.
Have your child lie down and place a small (age appropriate) toy on their belly. As they breath in and out they can watch the toy go up and down.
Try it with tweens and teens
Just start with three big inhales and exhales. Just three big ones, that’s it! Sometimes that’s all they are going to give you and sometimes that’s all they will need.
Prompt them to visualize as they breathe (again it can be as little as three breaths!). Ask them to breathe in something like love (a feeling, something they love to do, even the thought of a special person) and breathe out something that may make them feel tense or that is bothering them.
Check out this post for more helpful tools for a stressed teen!
I can see you know all rolling your eyes on this one and I get it, but hear me out! This can feel like a big mindfulness practice to tackle, even as an adult. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated, long, or stressful. I promise! First off, if you have managed to get your child to be aware of their breath then you’re already there. Sometimes just sitting calmly, maybe closing your eyes, and focusing your inhale and exhale can be the days meditation. If you have younger kids or your older kids need a little more guidance, then check out a guided meditation from Insight Timer. On this app you can search for specific topics (anxiety/stress), meditation length, even ages. The guided meditation will talk your kids through a calming mindfulness practice. I’m always meditating right along with my kids, they learn a lot from watching you!
As the school year starts you may be finding yourself at home more with your children. You may even be remote learning at home. Having a calming atmosphere can set kids up for less stress and more concentration. Try adding some chill music or diffuse some essential oils. Making sure your children have quiet/downtime away from screens and technology can be an easy way for them to tap into how they are feeling in the present moment.
Don’t forget about YOU!
Check out my posts on how you can cultivate your own easy morning and nighttime mindfulness practice! Cultivating a mindfulness practice with children won’t just transform them . . . it’ll get you too!