Juniper Days - 10/04/2020
How to Teach Mindfulness to Children
Teaching mindfulness to children at a young age is one of the very best gifts that you can give them.
As adults, we’re starting to understand the importance of being mindful and trying to learn how to bring it into our lives. If we teach mindfulness to children, they’ll grow up naturally using it and reaping the benefits!
Here are 5 ways (and a few tips) for teaching mindfulness to children:
1. Practice breathing
Though it might sound easy, mindful breathing is actually one of the hardest things to ask children to do! The best thing that you can do here is lead by example, especially with younger children. Show them that you’re consciously breathing in and out through your nose when things get tough and you need to restore a little calm.
Another technique is to count out loud so that your children can breathe in time. For example, count to 2 for an inhale, and 3 for an exhale.
2. Take a mindful walk
Take your children for a quiet walk - no noisy toys, no technology, no distractions. Ask them to stop and look at things along the way, or pay attention to the different sounds that they can hear.
Why not turn it into a game? Write a list of objects and noises that can be heard outside, and ask your children to tick them off as they see them.
3. Write a gratitude list
Create a new habit of writing a daily gratitude list - pick a time and stick to it! Ask your children to each write down 5 things that they are grateful for and be sure to do the activity alongside them.
Your gratitude list will help to give them examples of all the small and wonderful things that there are to be grateful for.
4. Do an online yoga class
Search for a kids’ yoga channel on YouTube and spend a fun few minutes creating a little mindful body awareness with your little ones!
5. Listen to sounds
Make a point of stopping to listen and pay attention to any interruptive sounds around you - whether this is the oven timer, the church bells, or your home telephone. Ask everyone to stop and listen to the noise, you could even use it as a reminder to sit and breathe for a few seconds!
Tips for teaching mindfulness to children:
Here are some tips to make the process of teaching mindfulness to children even easier.
1. Establish your own practice
Just like being a yoga teacher, life coach, or any kind of leader, you need your own practice to really understand what you’re trying to teach your children. Start establishing your own mindfulness practice (if you haven’t already) so that you can speak from experience and share the best and most straightforward parts with your children.
2. Keep it simple
When teaching children anything new, the most effective way is to keep it simple. Remember, this is a totally new concept to them that might not make very much sense. Start with one mindfulness practice for 5 minutes every day and add another activity when they’re starting to enjoy it.
3. Don’t expect too much
Try not to get frustrated when what you intended to be 5 minutes of mindful breathing turns into 30 minutes of silly sounds and rolling around on the floor. Be patient and keep it fun!
Do you teach mindfulness to your children? We’d love to know how you choose to practice!