All of the benefits that we get from mindfulness, our children will, too.
Here are six ways to practice mindfulness with your kids.
1) Pinwheel: Grab a pinwheel from the dollar store some day. This can be used for even small children to play close attention to their breath.
When I do my meditation, I always make sure that my exhales are longer than me inhales. Exhaling triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which tells us to slow down. This helps to ease anxiety and tension in the body.
You can count for them or play with them. Have them inhale to two and then blow hard on the pinwheel, exhaling to four.
2) Find the Emotion: This is for when your child is feeling an overwhelming emotion. Learning young to identify our emotions makes them less scary. Dr. Daniel Siegel says “Name it to tame it.”
When you see your son or daughter feeling angry or sad, ask them to tell you where they can feel it. We might feel anger in our face as it gets red, in our hands as they start to shake, in our eyes as they start to get water. Try to find all of the places we can feel anger.
3) Mindful yard: Go into the front yard, back yard, or the park. Sit still. Have your child pick one thing that they can see. Tell them to tell you how it looks, smells, sounds, feels, and on the odd chance it is appropriate, tastes! Finish all of the senses before moving to the next thing.
4) Raisin meditation: This is a famous meditation. It is similar to mindful yard, except it focuses on our sense of taste. Give your child a raisin. Have them describe in detail how it looks. Have them put it up to their area and squish is a little bit. How does it sound? Put it up to their nose. How does it smell? Roll it between their fingers. How does it feel?
Finally, put it in their mouth. How does it taste?
This is a great activity when introducing new foods! It makes it so much more interesting and gives them a chance to slow down and think before rejecting it.
5) Listen to Peace Out Podcast: This is a great, short podcast that is made for “children and their adults.” It includes stories and exercises to help kids be calm. It includes visualizations and breathing exercises.