This area is currently dedicated to helping you to develop and support mindfulness with your little people at home. It’s jam-packed with fun ideas and easy to implement strategies that will help everyone to be more mindful and to have fun along the way! Get stuck in and if you need anything or have any questions, please get in touch with us!
So – first up, WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?!
Mindfulness at home!
Mindfulness is simple the process of being aware of ourselves, our bodies and our environments. Encouraging children to be mindful can help them to better deal with stressful or emotive situations and encourage calmness, better focus and well-being. And its so easy to practice; it really is child’s play!
Before you start mindfulness exercises with your children, there are a few things to think about;
Firstly, are you being mindful? There are loads of ways that you can be more mindful in your daily life and it is just a case of sharing this with your child; talk about your own practice or experiences as they happen and how it helps you to feel better to be more mindful!
Don’t rush it and don’t push it; find a quiet time and a quiet space and if your child isn’t engaged, stop the activity. This should be relaxing and fun, if it isn’t then its not the right time.
Keep it simple; remember that being mindful is not a miracle cure for bad behaviour but a useful tool to help us all to feel calmer, to be more in touch with ourselves and others and to help us to notice how our bodies and thoughts can respond to our surroundings in different ways.
A good starting point is to ask your child what they think mindfulness is; you might be surprised at their understanding and their thoughts on being mindful.
5 fun mindfulness exercises you can do at home!
- Breathing bears – An easy, calm way to encourage your child to meditate! Simply take your childs favourite soft toy and encourage them to lie down with their bear on their tummy (parents can modelling doing this activity too!). Taking slow and deep breaths, ask them to watch the bear moving up and down on their tummy as they breathe in silence for one minute. Ask them to notice any other thoughts or feelings that might come into their heads while they are doing this; can they push these thoughts and feelings away like they are blowing bubbles away?
- Super senses. Encourage your child to imagine they are their favourite super hero; explain that all superheroes have special senses to help them to be super! Can they use their own super senses to explore their surroundings? Go through each sense and ask them to be super-tuned in to each (smell, sight, sound, touch (ask them to close their eyes and hand them an every day object to feel) and taste (again, with their eyes closed, give them a small sample of an every day food to taste without them knowing what it is). Closed eyes during this process (apart from sight!) can be helpful. This simple exercise allows children to tune in to their surroundings and be more present and aware of themselves within their environments.Strong and soft; encourage children to find a pose where they feel strong; perhaps encourage them to imagine they are their favourite hero and imagine how they might stand (legs straight and hip-width apart, arms in a ‘superman’ pose, fists clenched etc) and hold this pose for 30 seconds. Talk to the child about how they felt while they were in this pose; explain that being strong physically can help us sometimes to feel strong inside too. Then try to opposite – find a position where they can feel safe and soft, relaxing their bodies (maybe lying down, curled up, muscles relaxed etc). How did they feel this time? Again, talk about how relaxing our bodies can also help us to relax our minds when we are feeling cross or upset.
- Muddle jar – take an empty jar (with a secure lid!) and ¾ fill it with water. Fill the remainder of the jar with cooking oil (any will do) and add in a few drops of food colouring, glitter or whatever you can find to make the jar more interesting! Once the lid is securely on, ask your child to shake the jar and then watch what happens to the liquid inside. Explain that our minds can feel like this sometimes and we can feel jumbled up and unable to think clearly if we are shaken, upset or cross. Encourage the child to watch the jar and see what happens when the jar is given time to settle. Discuss that just like the jar, if we can take ourselves off to settle down somewhere quiet, we are better able to deal with upsetting or worrying situations once we have had time to settle too.
- Thanking yous! This is a simple and very effective mindfulness exercise that can be practised with the whole family; simply go around the table and ask each person in turn to say one thing that they are thankful for for the day. This could be as simple as ‘I’m thankful the sun is shining, or that the rain is watering my plants’ or thanking someone for a small kindness. This technique helps children to be grateful for what they have rather than focusing on what they want or feel is absent.
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