There is no better time to teach your kids mindfulness than now. Being mindful of one’s self and surroundings can help your kids manage themselves better in life, in terms of emotions, studies, and other activities. Children need to be taught about being mindful of what they say, and about sensing what is happening around them in order to grow up to be well-managed persons. The literal meaning of mindfulness is, ‘being aware of one’s present surroundings, including one’s feelings and thoughts’. However, kids don’t really understand literal meanings or theories – they understand practical demonstrations and learn by experience. For that very reason, below is a compilation of some exercises and ways that can help you teach mindfulness to your children without boring them with a lecture.
Exercises to Teach Your Kids Mindfulness
1- Listening to the Bell:
Tell your kids to be completely silent (trust me, that is the only difficult part of this exercise), and then ring a bell. Ask the kids to listen to the ringing of the bell quietly, focusing on the vibrations of it with their eyes closed. Once the ringing subsides completely, tell the children to maintain the silence for another minute as they focus on any other sounds they might be hearing after the bell’s ring. Now, go around and listen to the children to tell what they heard after the bell. This exercise really helps improve the children’s focus as well as encourages them to communicate.
2- Meditating with a Toy:
This one is fun, and requires some cute stuffed toys! This exercise is very simple: All you have to do is give each kid a stuffed toy, ask them to lie down and put their stuffed toys on their chest, like you would hug someone while lying down. Then, make the kids stay quiet and just breathe as they focus on how the stuffed toy goes up and down with their breathing. This meditation calms down the frenzies that kids are usually full of, and makes them learn how to focus and relax while relieving any stress they might have.
3- Squishing Every Muscle:
One of the best ways to teach your kids, self-awareness is to make them identify every muscle in their body. Make the kids lie down on their backs and close their eyes. Now, ask them to relax, take a deep breath and exhale. Then, ask the kids to start with their toes and go up to their bellies and their shoulders. Identify each muscle, and squeeze it if they can. They will squeeze most muscles if not all. Ask the kids to stay in that position, then release the ‘hold’. You can do this exercise with the kids, too! It’s great for loosening physically and mentally, and mommies need that!
4- Smelling It:
Using the five senses is a great way to release stress and to be aware of the present. Have you ever felt a memory come back because of a certain smell? That’s because anything that appeals to your senses embeds the moment in your memory. Similarly, kids can learn how to remember the present moments by focusing on a smell. Give them any product that smells, like a perfume, a fruit, a flower etc. Ask the kids to shut their eyes and breathe in the smell of the object. This will improve their focus, memory, and awareness of their internal sensations.
5- Touch and Communicate:
Touching is another one of the very important senses that help with memory and focus. In fact, touching is a stronger memory-influencer. Divide your kids into pairs, then give each pair a different object, like a ball, a paper, etc. Now, make one kid in each pair touch the object and describe to their partner how it feels in texture, temperature, etc. This helps kids open up and use words to describe their feelings.
6- Heartbeat Self-check Exercise:
This exercise is a more movement-oriented one. Since you are done with the calmer activities, it’s time to tell the kids to jump in their positions, up and down, and then sit back, close their eyes, rest their hands on their chests, and feel their heartbeats. Along with their heartbeats, tell the kids to also check their breathing and any other sensations that they might be feeling physically or otherwise. This activity helps the children feel conscious about how their bodies function.
Talking is the best exercise to teach mindfulness to your children. It improves their social skills, and helps them understand and recognize their emotions better. By talking, this exercise aims for you to make your kids talk to each other and to you. Ask them what they feel, how they know what they feel, why they feel like that, and what feelings they like or dislike.
It is easy to bring up children, but what matters is how you bring them up. Every child’s personality starts developing in the younger years, and that is why you must start training your kids physically and mentally from the beginning in order to help them become organized and mindful adults.