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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

Fun Ways To Introduce Mindfulness To Kids

Mindfulness is a powerful way to manage stress and cope with difficult situations. It’s a method of learning how to focus on the present moment and to overcome negative thoughts or impulsive behaviour. It’s not just for adults either, as studies have shown that the techniques can also benefit children and teenagers.

Young people may not have to worry about paying the mortgage, but they still face a lot of pressure to meet certain expectations from school, social media, and even family and friends, and this can cause feelings of isolation and anxiety.

Learning mindfulness may not be able to solve these problems, but it may help to prevent them developing or escalating out of control. Studies have shown mindfulness can boost concentration and focus, and this in turn can help to improve academic performance.

It can ncrease kindness and compassion for others, which helps children to grow socially and emotionally. It can also help to ease anxiety and make life’s problems seem that bit easier to tackle.

However, many mindfulness techniques are intended for adults, and involve sitting quietly and focusing for 20 minutes or longer. As any parent will know, this is not most kids’ idea of fun, and they may become too bored or impatient to really benefit from the exercise. Therefore it’s important to tailor the techniques to suit them. Here are some ideas.

Go outdoors and engage the senses

In your garden or on a walk, ask your kids to look out for and name things that they can see, hear, smell, feel, and taste. You may need to prepare some props to give younger children. Ask them to describe the element or object, such as the feel of a cooling breeze on their skin, or the rough texture of a dry twig.

Ask them to create something

Give your child some craft materials. This could simply be paper and a pencil, or some cardboard boxes, scissors, and glue. Ask them to visualise something that makes them feel happy, such as playing with a pet or a favourite toy or TV character. Tell them to draw or make the image.

This is not a test of artistic ability, so make it clear it’s not about the end result, but just enjoying the process of creativity. If your child’s attention wanders halfway through the activity, gently guide them back to it until they have finished.

Eat a mindful meal

Before a meal, ask your kids to really look at the food on their plate, and comment on the colours, shapes, and textures. How does it smell? How does it feel and taste as they chew it? This can help children to eat more slowly and learn to appreciate their food better.

Practise a mindful body scan

Encourage your child to sit or lie down in a relaxed position. Tell them to squeeze and release each muscle in their body in turn for five second intervals. Start with the face muscles, getting them to pull a variety of expressions. Then ask them to work their way down to their toes.

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