Mindfulness has become increasingly popular over the last several years, with more and more research being conducted on its benefits to health and well-being.
In fact, mindfulness has even been shown to be effective in helping kids with ADHD. So why should kids have all the fun?
This comprehensive guide breaks down what mindfulness is, how you can use it with your kids, and why you should choose it over other methods. Let’s dig deeper to learn more!
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
Mindfulness meditation is a practice where you sit in a quiet, relaxed posture and focus on your breathing. You can use a mantra (mantras are words like calm or relax) to help concentrate.
This focuses your mind, allowing you to remove yourself from distractions around you. Focusing on your breathing takes some time to get used to but after some time, you will be able to develop mental calmness and focus while practicing mindfulness meditation.
After meditating, pay attention to how you feel. You should notice that you feel more focused and less stressed than before. There are many benefits of practicing mindfulness for kids including stress relief, increased concentration, and an overall boost in happiness levels!
Why teach mindfulness to kids?
Mindfulness can help kids with a lot of things, including sleeping better and helping them focus in school. Parents who want to teach their children mindfulness can reap a ton of benefits too.
Mindful parenting is good for your relationship with your children and it lowers stress levels. Teachers will also enjoy teaching a class that’s calm and focused on learning. Mindfulness might seem tricky, but it’s not—and there are many ways to do it right at home.
The best place to start is with meditation! In fact, everyone in your family will benefit from regular meditation sessions; all you need is about 10 minutes per day. If you have children under 12, these mini-meditations are an especially great way to get started (they only take five minutes).
What are the Benefits of Mindfulness for Kids?
The benefits of teaching children mindfulness are numerous. With education on topics like meditation and breathing, kids learn to be calmer and more focused, allowing them to approach stressful situations with a sense of control rather than panic.
Additionally, studies have shown that mindfulness practices improve self-esteem, as well as reduce symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.
And lastly, it’s never too early to teach kids about mindful living; in fact, developing self-awareness is one of the most important things we can do for our children.
6 Ways to teach Children mindfulness?
There is so much on offer out there when it comes to teaching children mindfulness. Some of it’s great, some of it leaves a lot to be desired and some of it’s probably not all that useful!
Let’s discuss a number of approaches you can take and things you should consider before deciding what is right for your family. Let’s get started…
1) Enjoyable Meditation Practices
Find something your child enjoys (or find several things they like), remember that work should always be played with kids who are too young to understand real work anyway!
2) Daily Routine Encourage Kids
Remind yourself that these skills don’t develop overnight (or even over just weeks), look at it as an ongoing process rather than an event at which they learn everything in one go.
3) Paying Attention with fun
Have fun with whatever activity or methods you choose!
4) Parents’ own Practice
Work with your kids but also keep practicing yourself and make sure you have your own time to practice mindful activities.
5) Keep trying new things
No parent knows how best to teach their children about mindfulness, we’re all learning ourselves; so keep trying different ways until you find something that works for everyone.
6) Self Regulation in a few minutes
Make sure doing nothing gets practice time too – many kids today don’t know how to sit still let alone how it feels to enjoy doing nothing.
Basic Mindfulness Practice for Kids
Mindfulness is a simple, safe, and effective way to connect with yourself and your feelings. It’s also an important skill that can help you lead a happier, healthier life.
Mindfulness practice develops self-awareness so they can recognize their emotions, feel more comfortable in their own skin and understand how different things affect them.
In other words, mindfulness training teaches kids how to be present in each moment without getting carried away by past or future thoughts. This means it’s better to manage anxiety and stress in kids — and it’s much easier to focus on schoolwork when you feel calm rather than anxious!
Toddlers can benefit from mindfulness exercises when they are feeling happy and grateful.
Basic Meditation Practice for Kids
Let’s practice mindfulness.
Sit in a comfortable position. Sit up straight with your back held straight, like a little soldier. When you are sitting on a chair, your feet should be touching the floor.
If you’re sitting on a cushion or bench, there should be no space between your buttocks and where you’re sitting. You can also sit cross-legged if that is more comfortable.
Close your eyes if it helps relax you; however, if they stay open, don’t focus on anything specific but simply let them gaze into space as though you were daydreaming and/or looking at something far away.
How Parents can practice meditation with kids?
It is important to help young kids understand what meditation is and why mindfulness training is important. Explain that we are going to do a little practice in quieting our minds and helping us focus on one thing at a time.
We need quiet space to hear what it’s trying to tell us and when our mind is cluttered with a lot of things, sometimes we just can’t figure out what’s really going on.
Mindfulness activities involve observing what is happening in the present moment with total awareness.
Teach kids about mindful breathing and how it’s such an important part of living as humans – we use breathing every day whether we realize it or not. When we take a few deep breaths, oxygen enters our bodies from outside and moves into tiny blood vessels inside our lungs.
From there, oxygen travels through the body until it reaches our cells. Our bodies absorb most of that oxygen so they can make an energy to fuel all of life’s functions (like growing new cells). What remains in those tiny blood vessels is CO2 – carbon dioxide that was created by breaking down food during digestion and moving oxygen around your body.
Then CO2 travels back through those same blood vessels until it reaches your lungs where you exhale CO2 and take another breath full of fresh air! The whole process takes only seconds but takes place thousands upon thousands of times each day without any effort from you—it just happens naturally because you are alive!
Meditation may help parents manage stress, challenging moments, reduce anxiety, and cultivate peace of mind – all of which contribute to the development of a low-stress environment, which, in turn, helps children flourish.
When teaching kids how to cope with stress and other negative emotions, we should establish a regular meditation practice.
Mindfulness Meditation for Parents
Meditation is good practice for dealing with life’s stressors, but you don’t have to be a monk to meditate. You can do it sitting on your couch, or even at your desk. And you can teach meditation to your kids (and get them started at a very young age).
Learn more about mindfulness meditation and how it will help your family in every area of life from health and happiness to creativity and productivity.
This comprehensive guide explores all types of popular meditation tips, including kid-friendly forms like counting breaths etc.
Teaching Mindfulness Practice in Schools
Once you’ve decided that mindfulness is something that you want to teach in your school, there are a few things you should do first.
Do research about what’s already out there, how it’s being implemented, and if it’s been successful. If other schools have implemented mindfulness, find out what worked and what didn’t work so that you can avoid their mistakes.
With all of these considerations in mind, choose one or two strategies from those listed below to implement in your classroom(s).
Teaching Mindfulness in Kindergarten:
All kindergarten teachers should begin teaching mindfulness at some point during their career and ideally start right away in the school setting. Why?
According to an NIH report (Kraemer et al., 2013), preschool experiences—and yes, even pre-kindergarten experiences—significantly impact academic achievement later in life.
The more time children spend learning information and studying skills related to academics early on, the more likely they’ll be prepared for higher education and jobs later on in life.
Plus, since kids who learn mindfulness skills at an early age tend to continue practicing them into adulthood (as opposed to uninstilling them) they’re less likely to develop chronic conditions like anxiety or depression later on as well as increasing their chances of leading healthier lives overall.
When it comes time to start teaching mindfulness in kindergartens, the only real challenge is just making sure that everything stays developmentally appropriate.
Mindfulness Activities for Kids
With the pressures of school, extracurricular activities, and homework, teaching kids mindfulness skills can help them manage stress and calm themselves in situations where they might otherwise lash out.
These mindfulness activities for kids will help them learn to focus on their senses and emotions to bring awareness to their day-to-day lives, as well as help them take care of their bodies and appreciate the world around them. Try these simple mindfulness activities for kids today!
One of mindfulness’s most simple, calming exercises is breathing. Simply sitting quietly and focusing on your breath can help bring clarity to your thoughts and feelings. Try these mindful breathing exercises with your kids
Kids love yoga, and it’s a great way to start them on their mindfulness journey. The basic poses of yoga can focus kids on their breathing, and make them feel more centered.
If you want to develop mindfulness in your child, try starting with a guided meditation. Not only is it a great way to ease them into mindfulness and meditation, but it’s also a good way to bond.
Try sitting on opposite sides of your kid—one person as meditator and one as mediator (if there are more than two people involved in your session, you may want to rotate positions).
Take three deep breaths together. Then, begin by telling your child how much you love them. Then ask them if they can hear their own breathing; guide them through their breath until it feels natural for them to start taking deeper breaths into their belly—they should feel their chest moving out when they inhale and contracting back when they exhale.
This is called diaphragmatic breathing.
These items encourage a child to focus on what they’re doing with their hands and ears. They also help a child learn about cause and effect. Children will begin by identifying basic sensory toys that can be used to feel in different ways and make different sounds, bean bags that are easy to grab, rub or throw, rattles that shake when you shake them. But children’s sensory toys can go far beyond these basics.
Many are made to feel warm and soft like animal fur, others bend so you can twist them around your fingers, some light up and flash as you wave them through the air. There is even a ball designed specifically for kids with autism that pulses as it rolls, helping children understand when an object is moving away from them.
Take them Outside
There are tons of fun ways to teach kids mindfulness, including activities they can do while they’re outside. The natural setting encourages them to focus on what’s going on around them and develop their senses—and it lets you start conversations about mindfulness with your kids. Try teaching them how to identify different animals from their tracks or how trees respond to changes in seasons.
For example, when spring arrives, talk about how trees begin growing new leaves even though they aren’t green yet—it will reinforce your child’s knowledge that change is always happening and that everything is connected.
Or if your kids have an interest in farming or gardening (or simply like eating fresh produce), get them involved!
Bring them along as you shop for plants at a local nursery or plant seeds with mini garden markers that show exactly which kinds of plants each one represents; getting into dirt will help young kids think more clearly and make more careful decisions in school and life.
Read Aloud Together
The benefits of reading aloud together can’t be overstated. It doesn’t matter if you are reading picture books or chapter books to your kids, whether on road trips or at bedtime, taking time to read together instills a love of literature and strengthens your relationship with your children. Reading to younger children offers even more benefits.
In addition to providing modeling as they learn language skills, it also helps them develop their listening and comprehension skills. When you take time to explain words they don’t know or use context clues, they not only hear and retain new words but also begin to understand how reading works.
Kids who experience literacy in an interactive way with adults tend to do better in school and succeed more often in life than those who don’t have that kind of rich literacy background. Plus, it’s just plain fun!
Creative Arts & Crafts
Arts and crafts activities, like coloring, drawing and painting help children focus their minds and reduce stress. Art classes are a great way to get your kids involved in creative expression as well.
At home, you can teach your child how to draw or paint using fun materials like finger paints and glitter glue. Not only does making art help them de-stress but it also helps with hand-eye coordination.
When we think of mindfulness, we often conjure up images of adults sitting on cushions with their eyes closed. While there’s nothing wrong with that, incorporating more activities into your daily life is a great way to sneak in some mindfulness and improve your kids’ overall happiness and well-being.
Outdoor playtime is an ideal activity—it encourages physical activity, creates space for creativity, helps kids explore nature and most importantly gets them away from their screens.
Mindfulness Activities for 3 to 10 years old kids
Basic breathing exercises, Guided Mindfulness Meditation, and Walking Meditation. Learning how to become mindful child will help them pay attention, stay focused on work and learning activities and improve overall concentration skills.
Simple mindfulness exercises help your child learn about being calm, relaxed, focused and content with who they are as an individual. Introduce your children to mindfulness now, let them see that it’s not just something grownups do!
Let them also see that having time in every day when you don’t have to move around, talk or interact is really calming and nice.
Encourage a few minutes of quiet reading or sitting quietly in class at school when your child can manage it.
5 Mindfulness Activities for teenagers
Here are some mindfulness activities that you can share with your teenager. These activities will help them learn to stop, breathe and focus on their body, thoughts and emotions. In a world that’s full of fast-paced communication and multitasking, it’s never too early to start teaching kids how to slow down.
Mindfulness exercises will help them develop self-awareness, regulate their emotions and make informed decisions in every aspect of their lives – from study habits to dating relationships to social interactions with friends.
These practices are not difficult or time-consuming – they only require simple awareness and acceptance of what’s happening now. If teenagers find these mindful activities useful, then they may be willing to practice them daily throughout adulthood. The result: more happiness, better decision-making skills, and reduced stress throughout life! It’s well known that even 5 minutes spent sitting still, breathing mindfully and practicing self-awareness can change your perspective.
So why not get started today? Scroll through our list of 50 essential mindfulness activities for kids (teens) below. Feel free to use any activity that seems appropriate to fit your teenager’s needs ; if something doesn’t feel right, keep searching until you come across one that clicks. And remember to follow up by asking how it went. Teaching kids how to increase mindfulness is all about practicing yourself first!
1) Focused Breathing – Sit silently with your eyes closed and focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your nose. As much as possible allow distractions to float away, like clouds moving across a clear blue sky.
Each time your attention drifts into mind chatter gently return back to concentrating just on taking calm deep breaths through your nose. You can increase or decrease your breathing rate – try observing if making the inhalation or exhalation longer will change anything about how you feel; what emotion do you experience when you breathe slowly? How do you feel when you breathe quickly?
2) Grateful List – Think about one thing that has made you truly happy today. Maybe something positive happened during school or maybe one of your friends complimented you on something (That new top is amazing!).
Keep breathing slowly while thinking about that one thing, allowing yourself to remember all of its details: where were you when it happened? What exactly did they say? Focus completely on these details until they become so vivid that they appear like an image projected onto a big screen directly in front of your face. Then imagine extending that feeling of happiness over several weeks or months.
3) Loving Kindness Meditation – Using simple phrases such as May I be safe and May I be healthy repeat them over and over again without attachment to outcomes. On every exhale visualize loving energy radiating out from your heart towards others.
Visualize them feeling good because you love them even though they may have upset you earlier in the day; keep repeating until both emotions feel equally strong (Love: not liking but wanting another person’s happiness).
4) Experience Being Seen- Create an imaginary circle around yourself then ask someone who cares about you most (your mom, dad, grandparent etc.) to enter into it. The goal is to make sure that everything that’s happening inside of you is known by someone else besides you. Together notice how it feels when another person knows all of what’s going on inside of you –
5) Gratitude Practice – Before bed reflect on one positive thing or event that happened today and write it down as a gratitude list either in a notebook or with Post-its. Consider including things like being given a compliment, seeing something beautiful like a bird fly by or receiving praise from teachers at school.