Mindfulness for Kids
Updated: Feb 4, 2022
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in a calm and peaceful state with full awareness of our actions, emotions, and thoughts. When we are in a mindful state it is much less likely that we will become reactive and overwhelmed. If children learn this practice early on, they are set for life when it comes to handling the potential overwhelm that inevitably creeps into daily life as they grow into adolescence and young adulthood.
Mindfulness practice helps us on so many levels, but one place in particular is the part of the brain that controls focus, complex cognition, and decision making. That part of the brain is the pre-frontal cortex. It also helps to reduce the part of the brain that gets activated in “fight or flight” feelings of anxiety, the amygdala. Therefore, practicing mindfulness early on won’t only help children to relax, but also to develop skills to self-regulate, practice patience, and make better decisions before taking action.
It can be tricky teaching mindfulness if we don’t practice ourselves. I like to help parents come up with a plan to bring mindfulness to the whole family.
Start with picking a day where everyone is available for 30 minutes together, and choose a method that works best for all of you. You can start with just 5 minutes and build up to 30 after a while. The idea of 30 to start gives enough time to get into a peaceful state.
Next, putting on peaceful music, without lyrics can be helpful to avoid distraction and train your mind to relax.
Sit comfortably in a seated position on a rug or meditation cushion, with eyes softly closed.
Count breaths in a 3, 6, 3 (breathe in for 3, hold for 6, out for 3) or in a 4, 7, 8 technique. Repeat throughout the time allotted.
Sit for a few minutes with eyes gently open and soak up the peaceful feelings
Continue practicing as often as possible until you can get a daily practice going for you and your children.
Here are some great books and videos to help children learn mindfulness, meditation, and yoga.
Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents)
Peaceful Piggy Meditation
Mindful Kids: 50 Activities for Calm, Focus and Peace
I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness
Check out Cosmic Kids for yoga, meditation and other fun at https://www.cosmickids.com/