This is such a bewildering time. And if it’s disconcerting and worrying for us, then it must be quite frightening for our children. Naturally it’s our job to limit their exposure to overwhelming information, yet it’s also necessary to be honest with them because this is part of our lives now. With that in mind, I wanted to focus on our children’s wellbeing today with some mindfulness activities for kids.
How Can Mindfulness Benefit Our Children?
Young or old, mindfulness is beneficial for all. Tuning into the present necessitates tuning out of other thoughts, worries, and distractions. Diverting attention away from stressful or otherwise negative feelings due to an overactive mind, gives your body a chance to rest and regroup.
The physical implications of ongoing stress are widely reported, and they’re not healthy.
Mindfulness Activities for Kids
Mindfulness is a skill, a really useful one. But in this busy, noisy world, it’s one which needs to be taught.
A wonderful way of doing so is to model it, so these activities are perfect for showing your child how to be mindful, by practicing with them side by side.
Our children love to emulate us, it’s hardwired! Here are some positive behavioural techniques to demonstrate:
1. Yoga for Kids
Try guiding your child through some simple yoga poses – or get a pro to help you! We really rate Cosmic Kids on YT because they make a yoga flow really accessible to children with a few minor tweaks to incorporate the retelling of popular Disney films.
Simply pop on some comfy clothes which allow for flexibility and clear a comfortable space – perhaps use a rug or mat if you’re working on a solid wood or other hard floor.
Yoga is excellent for proprioception. If you’ve not heard that term before, it’s basically a sense or awareness of the position and movement of your body within a space. A great example is developing the skill to touch your nose with your eyes closed.
Balance and proprioception go hand in hand, and when attempting challenging yoga poses, your little one will be entirely focused on how their body is performing. This concentration at the exclusion of all else, is a powerful form of mindfulness.
2. Meditation for Kids
Sometimes considered an extension of yoga, meditation involves actively emptying the mind.
The ultimate goal is to inspire peacefulness: mental clarity, emotional tranquility, spiritual connectedness, and physical relaxation.
That may be a big ask for children, so if meditation is not something you regularly practice yourself you could try guided meditation; again, there are lots of examples on YouTube. We also have a lovely guided meditation on our Lunii Storyteller (we reviewed this clever screenless device last year).
3. Self-Care for Kids Wellbeing: Journaling
I don’t know about you, but I keep finding myself pausing because it hits me again what has happened, and I’m still trying to process the magnitude of its impact. Most of the time I go about my new life without overthinking, and then suddenly I’m floored by this new reality. I’m still coming to terms with it, and if we are then it’s only natural that our children are too.
This is where journaling can help.
Journaling is about emptying your thoughts onto paper to help identify and explore feelings, process and reflect on, and ultimately make peace with them.
A journal is a lot like a diary, except it’s more flexible (not dated), with a focus on self-awareness, self-improvement, wellbeing and positivity. If your child is struggling to work through their thoughts and feelings at the moment, or to communicate them to you, journaling can be a fabulous way to support them.
4. Glitter Jar Activity
I read about this activity somewhere, and I thought it was an excellent analogy for children of a busy or overwhelmed mind:
Grab a Mason jar and fill it with water. Add a big dollop of glitter glue, replace the lid and swirl the contents around.
Explain to your child that sometimes, when we’re feeling cross or sad or stressed, our minds can whirr with thoughts so that it becomes difficult to see anything clearly. This is why when we’re feeling upset about something it’s easy to make silly choices, because we’re not thinking clearly.
Place the jar down in front of them, and have them watch the mixture as it slowly begins to settle and clear.
Now you can explain how we’re able to elicit the same effect on ourselves by being still and practicing mindfulness.
This is both a wonderful representation of mindfulness and, as your child concentrates on watching the jar, an activity in itself.
5. Become Explorers!
Take your children for a walk, but appoint them beforehand as Explorers. Have them act the part of scientists on a mission to discover new exotic plants and creatures, and encourage them to focus on all of their senses during your adventure.
Ask them to notice every sound, smell, the richness of the colours, the feel of the breeze on their skin. Also try:
Get down on your hands and knees and look carefully for tiny critters; feel the roughness of the ground and the dirt under nails; breathe in the scent of freshly cut grass or the earthy soil. Take off your shoes and scrunch your toes in the mud or the sand – the perfect sensory experience for mindfulness to occur naturally.
6. The Great Outdoors
To expand on the above activity, weather permitting, try cloud gazing in the garden or at the park and attempting to make out shapes. Simply being outside, with the sun on their face and the warm or cool air on their bare arms, concentrating on the sky above them, is enough to facilitate mindfulness.
Taking the time to notice and appreciate the world around us using our senses is mesmerising for kids. It’s something we all take for granted, yet when we tune back into our natural surroundings it’s a powerful form of mindfulness.