This article will include a brief introduction of mindfulness for kids and how mindfulness activities can enhance a child’s overall development.
It will also include the guide- how to start mindfulness activities with kids and then will highlight some mindfulness activities used worldwide for kids and guide for parents how to do those activities with their children.
MINDFULNESS ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS:
Mindfulness Activities for kids would include blowing bubbles in which the kids can focus on their breathing processes, pinwheels- it encourages the mindful attention on the pinwheels, playing with balloons in a gentle way with balloons as they see them fragile, texture bag to enhance their senses of touch, blindfold test to enhance their exploration etc.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be defined as the full and focused awareness of our thoughts, feelings, our body muscles and our surroundings, by practising mindfulness we learn to live in our present.
Mindfulness helps in nurturing inner peace of an individual, helps in improving self-confidence, self-esteem, quality of exercise and relationships with others.
For children, their parents or caregivers are the best sources of learnings and therefore, they should provide age-appropriate mindfulness practices for children.
Introducing Mindfulness to Children:
Children always try to follow their role models and they can be their parents, teachers or other caregivers.
Therefore, it is best if they teach the children age-appropriate mindfulness, one point at a time.
The best way possible of teaching mindfulness and for a child to learn mindfulness is in the form of playing.
Here are some tips that might help-
- Try to have an open mind. For instance, if we as adults do not accept everything that has been taught to us, similarly there are chances that children might not accept you’re trying to teach. Let them grow on their own pace and don’t force your thinking on them
- Have faith in your beliefs and teach your children with patience (this is what mindfulness practitioner learns in his initial stages). Like we tell stories of our mythology to our children, mindfulness also be taught in such a manner without any overpowering emotions
- Always make sure that your child is willing to learn and ready for it. It is not the school homework which is supposed to be compulsory
HOW MINDFULNESS HELPS IN OVERALL GROWTH OF A CHILD?
Childhood is the age when learning takes place and children learn from their experiences as well as life lessons taught by their caregivers.
And if Mindfulness has been chosen for learning then it helps in the overall growth of the child.
- Mindfulness encourages a child to use all his 5 senses and then live to the fullest, this helps children in trying all the aspects, exploring new things and not fearing from risk-taking behaviour.
- Mindfulness breathing techniques help in understanding each muscle of our body by tensing a particular muscle and then relaxing it. This technique helps in an anxious state of mind of the child when he breaks something or does some mistake.
- Mindfulness helps in promoting self-respect, self-love, boosting self-confidence and self-esteem and therefore mindfulness activities can make a child more positive-driven individual.
EASIEST MINDFULNESS ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS TO START WITH:
Mindfulness is all about focusing on oneself and what is the best way of it is breathing exercises.
While doing this, a person’s whole attention sticks to the inhaling and exhaling process of the breaths, this is the best way to enter into meditation process.
It is the best start with kids too to learn the basics of mindfulness.
For this, you just need a calm and peaceful space and make the room filled with good aroma.
Ask your kid to lie down, close eyes and just be relax.
Follow the instructions- Inhale deeply and experience the freshness of the mist and then exhale from your mouth as if you’re blowing off a candle, make sure the child lets out all of the air.
Try to make your kid focus on your stomach while inhaling and exhaling and repeat it for some time but don’t exhaust the child.
We know walking is a beneficial exercise but the environment where we walk also plays the importance.
Walking in a closed environment doesn’t make much difference but walking in an open environment- in nature brings change faster.
As we know by now that mindfulness is all about being in the present and be aware of all our 5 senses, therefore, while walking in nature one can make the child learn about being in present.
While walking, enjoying the beautiful nature by seeing the beauty, by smelling the natural fragrance, touching the trees etc. this way the child unintentionally is driven towards that moment.
Accepting the self is one of the most important things of Mindfulness and learning to accept how we feel and why do we feel that way makes a big difference.
Feelings can be shy, cheerful, embarrassed, jealous, nervous, enthusiastic, lonely, sad, happy, uneasy etc. and accepting our feelings and embracing it for the good is the art of Mindfulness.
Let’s say, for instance, a child is jealous of his sibling because of some reason, the immediate response from the parents can be “how can you be jealous, he is your brother”, or “you shouldn’t let negative feelings inside you”.
These statements confuse a child, on one hand, we tell them to accept their feelings and on the other hand, we ask them to let go off these feelings.
In order to make your child to not develop jealousy try to indulge equal treatments for your children and find out the hidden flaws rather asking your child to stop having such feelings.
MINDFULNESS ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS AND GUIDE FOR PARENTS/CAREGIVERS:
Mindfulness techniques can be learned in the class as well as in the homely environment and here are some Mindfulness Activities for Kids-
Muscle Relaxation/Body Scan Meditation:
As we have already discussed the breathing technique of mindfulness, let’s look into muscle relaxation with the help of breathing.
This can be a fun activity for the children as in this the child needs to focus on one muscle at a time, tensing it while inhaling and relaxing the muscle while exhaling.
To learn about the rules, look at the Jacobson Muscle Relaxation Technique, it takes around 20 minutes, but start with 8-10 minutes or so.
Blowing bubbles emphasizes in the deep breaths, this is the best technique to make them learn a deep breath in and proper exhaling out process.
The child takes a deep breath and blows it all out to make the most bubbles possible.
It is a very helpful activity to do while bedtime, it helps in enhancing the imagination and a night of good night sleep.
The parents can tell a bedtime story by asking them to close their eyes and imagining every bit of the story.
The story should include colours in it, maybe in the form of colourful characters or in nature like a rainbow.
This helps in bringing happy thoughts and positivity before falling asleep.
Parents should try to indulge this activity in a daily routine and build this a habit for the child to give a report of their emotions every single day.
For example, if the child is unhappy, then he can openly say about his feelings without the fear of judgment.
And for parents or caregivers, it is very important to indulge a non-judgemental approach to listening.
It will enhance the child’s behaviour towards kindness and will be more focused and calm.
Finding Art & Shapes Games:
The parents should try to make their children play this game while being in nature.
For instance, seeing in the sky and making things out of clouds or making up a shape out of some stars etc.
This helps in increasing the cognition and processing abilities.
This can be used by focusing on what is being eaten.
For instance, a child is eating candy, and therefore the child should be focused on the melting of the candy slowly and steadily and if their thoughts divert, they need to bring their thoughts back on the candy again and focus on his sensory experience.
Listening to music:
Everybody loves music and when it’s taken as a fun activity as well as the mindfulness activity then there is nothing wonderful than this.
Parents can make this an alternate day or every third-day routine for the child to listen to some music and identify all the instruments that have been used in it.
This activity will enhance hearing senses of the individual as well as enhances the processing ability of the child.
This is also an amazing mindfulness activity through which parents make their children learn to be grateful for things.
Parents need to show their gratitude every now and then in front of their children and to them as well to make them learn this mindful technique.
There are a number of other mindfulness activities for kids, the only thing that parents or caregivers should take in mind is that mindfulness should be taken as a fun sport for the children not a burden like other compulsory things.
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This article has discussed what mindfulness is and it can be introduced to the children.
It has discussed how mindfulness helps in the overall growth of the child.
We have also learned about the easiest mindfulness activities for kids to start with and then finally learned about some mindfulness activities and techniques for kids.
Your valuable comments and thoughts are welcomed and it would be wonderful if you can share your personal experiences with kids (if there are any) or experiences of your close ones.
And if you yourself are a mindfulness follower then what activities do you love the most? Feel free to share.
What are some mindfulness activities?
Some mindfulness activities are breathing techniques, muscle relaxation, acceptance of self, yoga, meditation, listening to music, focusing and enhancing your 5 senses with the help of art.
How do you practice mindfulness in the classroom?
Mindfulness in the classroom can be practised by focussing on your breathing.
Just breathe, be in present, relax, drink water, be grateful for every day, have happy and positive thoughts and focus on your learning.
What is Mindfulness for kids?
Mindfulness for kids refers to being in the moment, be aware of all of the senses and then doing things in a relaxed and easy way.
For kids, it helps in slowing down and not rushing into things without thinking.
What are the mindfulness skills?
Mindfulness skills are living in the present, focused breathing, knowledge of one’s body, have a balanced thought process, controlled emotions and full focus on being alive and being grateful for the life
Is yoga a form of mindfulness?
Yes, yoga is a form of mindfulness.
Ackerman, C.E. (2020). 25 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children and Teens (+Tips!)
Buchner, J. (2018). 5 mindfulness activities for kids (no meditation required)
Eidens, A. (2019). 5 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children. Big life Journal.
“Mindfulness Activities for the Elementary Classroom” (2018, Feb. 14). Concordia University-Portland.
“51 Mindfulness Exercises for Kids in the Classroom” (2019, Nov. 05). Waterford.org
Pruess, A. 25 Simple Mindfulness Activities Kids Will Actually Want to do.
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