What is mindfullness?
Mindfullness is us paying attention. To be mindfull we need to slow down and learn to bring stillness to our busy minds.
We can use our senses to help us focus on what is happening here and now in the present moment. Paying attention rather than being distracted. This allows us to taste our food more, listen more closely and work more efficiently. It can be difficult for children to switch from their hectic daily schedule to quiet mindful state that their growing minds and bodies need.
There are loads of good reasons for kids to slow down a bit and get used to being still. Here are a few:
Some benefits for mindfullness for children
1. Observational skills
Helping children notice what is going on in the world can help children to develop their problem solving skills.
Helping children to develop their concentration helps them focus for longer which helps them learn.
3. Rest and relax
Children are often exhausted and it is important for their growth and learning have an opportunity to rest not just when they sleep at night.
4. Smooth emotions
Children have many demands on their emotions during the day. Learning how to recognise and soothe their different emotions themselves can take time but is a skill worth children learning.
5. Feeling kind and connected.
Children who recognise their own emotions don't feel overwhelmed by them and are more likely to notice how others are feeling. This helps develop stronger friendships.
6. Winding down before sleep
Having a calm routine before bed helps develop a kind and connected feeling.
Spend 10 minutes practising some simple yoga postures like tree warrier and half moon pose. You can follow a video and play it while you practise together.
Smell the flowers breathing activity
This activity combines mindful colouring and deep breathing. For this activity you need childrens scented markers, do not use any other kind of marker as this would not be safe. Have children colour and breathe through their noses as they colour.
A huge part of mindfullness is learning how to control our breathing. A way to get children interested in how to focus on their breathing is to make it fun. With Dragon breathing children hace to sit up straight, breathe in stick out their tounge then breathe out like a dragon. It might feel silly at first but it helps bring the idea of deep breathing down to a child's level. This is a great activity to do after playtime and before a test.
Encourage your children to breathe in deeply and breathe out slowly. Blowing out the bubbles slowly helps them to focus their breath. If children are too young to blow the bubbles you can blow the bubbles and they can watch the bubbles float. This is a sensory experience for body and mind.
This is a guessing game that engages in their attention and curiosity. You can change the items in the bag each time. Place a small collection of familar objects that have different textures into a bag e.g. a rock, a leaf, a marble, a squashy and a cuddly toy. Have each child reach into the bag and touch the object without taking out the bag. Ask them to describe the object and guess what it could be.
Blindfolded taste tests
Use a variety of foods; vegetables, fruit, dried fruit use all the senses to describe it (sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste). It is best not to use foods that the child dislikes.
Let kids choose a colouring page, give them colouring pens and pencils. Encourage children to colour quietly on their own. Tell them if they make a mistake to just breathe and to move on.
Connect with nature
Take a 10 minute walk in the fresh air and experience the outdoors. While on a walk encourage children to look around and take in their environment with their senses.