Mindfulness is a psychological process to bring one's attention to the present. Through meditation and other practices, people can focus on the here and now, by being mindful of what is really happening, of what is really around and of what is really being felt, thought and experienced.
While this can sometimes be easier said than done, there are activities that even kids can do, in order to stay present. By being mindful, adults and children can manage their thoughts and feelings and body sensations, in order to take control and fight off feelings of stress and anxiety.
10 Do Yoga
Yoga is a great way to focus on the here and now. This practice does not just promote physical wellbeing, but it is also a mental and spiritual experience. And one does not have to be able to do handstands in order to participate in yoga! The Bridge Pose, Cat Pose, and Mountain Pose are just three examples of simple moves that children of all ages can try. The whole family can even get involved, as a way to exercise, to ease any current stressors in life, and to simply be present.
9 Focus On The Senses
One way to be mindful is to focus on what is all around us, and we can do this by using our senses. What do we see? What do we hear? Is there a taste in anyone’s mouth? Does the ground feel a certain way beneath us, or can we feel the air around us? What scents are present? When a child is feeling anxious, getting them to focus in on their senses and their surroundings can help ground them. Ask these questions. Hear their answers. This can be done regularly, too - not just during super stressful times in life.
8 Get An App
In today’s technological world, there are actually many apps that can assist in mindfulness. There are meditation apps like Calm and Headspace. There are daily lessons on yoga moves that are targeted to different levels. There are games that ease minds, such as ones that allow kids to color, pop bubbles or create songs. There are interactive journeys that can also promote problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination. Shop around to see what works best for each child. Since everyone is already on devices a lot anyway, this is a good way to make sure that tech time is being used wisely!
7 Take It Outside
On the other hand, make sure children are getting lots of time outdoors, too. While there are many benefits to having kids play outside, one in particular is that it, too, can be good for mindfulness. Take time to lie on the ground, look up at the sky, and find shapes in the clouds with a son or a daughter. Go on a walk with the whole family, and pay attention to the different textures of rocks, leaves, and trees. By being out in nature, kids can focus on their natural surroundings - instead of any stress or anxiety that could be present.
6 Tense & Relax Muscles
While lying on the ground and looking up, it may be beneficial to also have a kid tense and relax his/her muscles. This is another activity that is good to do on a regular basis (to get the body used to it) and good to do in times of need (like when a child is getting upset).
It is simple yet effective: Just tense up the muscles in the body (either all at once or one at a time). Hold that. Then release, by slowing relaxing the muscles. This will put the focus on controlling the body (instead of having the focus on stress, anger, etc).
5 Practice Gratitude
Physical exercises are smart when it comes to getting kids to be present, but verbal activities should be considered, as well. For instance, time could be taken each day or week to go over what everyone is thankful for. This has many positive aspects, as it will remind everyone of their talents, loved ones, bare necessities and so on. And it will also be a reminder that despite any obstacles in life, there are many reasons to smile and many things and people to be grateful for. By doing this regularly, children and adults will be more mindful.
4 Promote Creativity
By being creative, children can also be present and mindful of their surroundings and of their artwork. From working in coloring books and painting on easels to creating sculptures out of found objects and using technology to make original forms of entertainment, there are so many ways to promote creativity. And the best thing is that every piece that is made will be beautiful! Each piece will be made by a talented kiddo who is channeling energy into this unique painting, carving, video, collage… Some sort of art that has, once again, helped when it comes to mindfulness.
3 Play The Quiet Game
The Quiet Game is a classic one, in which everyone has to, well, be quiet! This can be challenging for some, as many children would rather be running around, yelling and playing. This can be used as a bribe of sorts by adults at times, as we may cause kids to think a game is being played… when we really just need some peace and quiet. But The Quiet Game can also be used to focus on the here and now. Everyone - on a regular basis or just when it is really needed - can stop, get quiet and listen. Stay like this for a bit, then report back with everything that was heard, seen, sensed and felt.
2 Make A Glitter Jar
From fidget spinners to exercise balls as chairs, there are many devices that can help active kids get focused. One fun device like this is a glitter jar. First off, kids get to be creative while making this jar - which just combines water, glitter glue and more glitter in a mason jar. Secondly, this pretty object can then be used for mindfulness! Is a girl getting upset? Let her swirl the glitter around in her jar! Is a boy feeling exhausted by school? He can play with his glitter jar while doing homework!
1 Check In On Emotions
There are obviously many ways to bring one's attention to the present, in order to manage thoughts and feelings and body sensations and in order to take control of stress and anxiety. The last suggestion on this list - when it comes to assisting children in being mindful - is to check in on emotions. Mental health is just as important as having a kid express creativity, stay active, get outside and so on. What is being felt right now is real, but talk through why a child feels that way and what can be done to turn a frown upside-down.