5 Mindfulness Tips for Children
Children can’t get enough of their screens, whether it’s a tablet screen, computer screen, or TV screen. Although these can be great ways to stimulate young minds and entertain, the fast-paced culture of media content can become overwhelming. We all need to take some time to stop and be truly conscious in the present moment; even our little ones. Emotional wellness and mental health are easily looked over because they can’t be seen, especially in children. However, it is just as important to look after your child’s mental health as it is their physical health. One way to check in with your child’s emotional wellbeing is to practice mindfulness. We know it sounds daunting to start with, but to be mindful is to be present, that’s it! Mindfulness has several benefits for anyone who chooses to practice it, but benefits specifically for children include:
- Going from a FIXED mindset into a GROWTH mindset.
- Mindfulness can build confidence and increase self-compassion.
- Children can learn to deal with stress better.
- Increased academic focus
This article will share 5 simple ways to incorporate mindfulness into your child’s daily routine.
What we eat is an essential part of life, it’s what sustains us. This is why it is important to help your child build a healthy relationship with food. Introducing mindful eating to your children could help cultivate enjoyment and an appreciation for food. Next time you sit down to eat with your kids, consider encouraging them to engage with their 5 senses and practice ‘mindful bites’. By taking a moment to experience what the food looks like, feels like, smells like what sound it makes, and finally what it tastes like eating is no longer a mindless activity for children but an experience. Pairing this technique with new foods and recipes can support children in trying something new.
Creating a Glitter Calm Down Jar
This next mindful strategy can help calm down kids. Glitter jars a visually compelling and easy to make. All you need is a jar, glitter glue, water, and glitter, (click here for a quick and easy recipe for glitter jars). Although these jars are traditionally made with glass, we’ve decided to use plastic bottles to prevent any breakages. Once the jar is made you can give them to your kids, tell them to shake up the jar then sit back and watch as the glitter flies around. The glitter acts as a visual signifier for the emotions your child might be feeling. As the glitter settles, remind your child that just like the glitter, we can’t remove our emotions but we should try to not allow them to obstruct our outlook.
Although it is not the first technique brought to mind when thinking about mindfulness, hobbies are a great way to introduce your child to well-being. Colouring, drawing, and baking are all activities that inspire creativity and encourage focus.
Activity 1: Emotional Art
Art is a great tool for working through emotions and stressors. If your child has a difficult time communicating emotions, maybe take out some pens and papers and encourage them to draw characters that relate to what they’re feeling.
Activity 2: Baking
Baking relates closely to mindful eating. Making food helps us feel more connected to what goes into the things that we eat. Our Little Bellies Baking Kits provide exciting recipes for you and your little one to make together (and hopefully enjoy mindfully).
Activity 3: Salt dough
Combing both art and baking, salt dough is an activity your kids can participate in every step of the way! By using simple ingredients consisting of plain flour, salt, and water (click here for instructions) you can make the perfect material for children to let their creativity fly and make any kind of objects. After your creations have hardened in the oven, you can use paint to add a splash of colour.
4. Practice gratitude and appreciation
A significant part of mindfulness is practising gratitude. Acknowledging the positive aspects of our lives can have plenty of benefits to our mental health; including improvements in mood, development of social relationships, and an optimistic outlook. By supporting children in expressing gratitude, we can help them develop this practice into a lifelong habit. Some ways children can practice gratitude:
- Writing down one thing they enjoyed that day
- Writing thank-you notes
- Writing 3 things they are grateful for
This next strategy is a more traditional mindfulness method, but it is effective and definitely worth mentioning. If your child gets overwhelmed or struggles with anxiety, practising breathing techniques can help them manage their symptoms when faced with difficult situations. Deep breathing can help you calm down and lower stress levels. When encouraging a child to do deep breathing, we can use props or simple techniques. One of our favourites is the triangle technique: trace the shape of a triangle while you breathe in for three counts, hold for three, release for three, and repeat.