Mindfulness refers to being aware of the present moment non-judgementally without thinking about the past or future. It is a popular technique among adults for mental, emotional and physical well-being. However, it is now being recommended for children too. It helps them to increase focus, improve their attention span and manage their negative emotions better.

Here are five ways to introduce mindfulness to your children.

Nature Walk

Take your children for a walk in nature – it could be a garden or a place surrounded by trees. Ask them to listen to five sounds they can hear. Once they have done this, ask them to list five things they can see, five things they can smell and five things they can touch. You can also ask them to spot rainbow colours. This will encourage them to dedicate their attention to one thing at a time and become more mindful of things around them.

Deep Breathing

Let your children sit in a silent space where there are no distractions. Show them how to do slow deep breathing – long inhale and long exhale. Do five repetitions, pause and then repeat. This practice will help them to become calm and focused. They can do this whenever they feel fear, anxiety or restlessness.

Journaling

Journaling is a great way for your children to express their emotions when they don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone. They can simply take a pen and paper/diary and start writing whatever they are feeling at that moment. It could be a sad or happy emotion. They can also express their gratitude for something. They will feel much better and lighter after they have finished writing. You can encourage your children to write a few lines in their journal every day before going to sleep. These days, many kid-friendly journals with prompts are available online – you can buy them one.

Glitter Jar

Your children would love to do this activity and have a super fun time! Pour the glue and hot water (20:80 ratio) into a glass jar. Add a few spoons of the glitter of any colour or mix and match. Add one or two drops of food colouring. Stir the mixture and close the lid tightly. The purpose of this activity is to show children that thoughts are like glitter swirling in the jar. When we calm these thoughts, they will settle in our minds like glitter will do at the bottom of the jar. Your children can shake the jar multiple times a day as and when some thoughts trouble them.

Mindful Eating

Most children and even adults nowadays eat watching television or phone. Some children tend to play and run around while eating. This kind of eating practice doesn’t allow the body to be conscious of what it is being fed. This can lead to under-eating or overeating. Teach your child to enjoy every bite of food slowly without distraction. Let them feel the texture of food, its colours, its smell, its shape and appearance, etc. This will help them to appreciate the food they are eating.

We hope these activities will cultivate mindfulness in your children. In fact, you can try them together with your children!

About Sneha Malhotra

Sneha is a mother of a teen son, and formerly an HR consultant, who is currently considering getting to the back to the workforce. She occasionally writes on HR topics and also on parenting issues - she also hopes to have her own blog soon!

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