What is mindfulness? It can be defined as a mental state achieved by focusing on one’s awareness on the present moment. It is a form of meditation that helps you be more in tune with your body, feelings and thoughts in order to achieve peace and calmness. This is very useful when it comes to children as it can help them pick up the skills that help with coping with emotions. Studies have shown that mindfulness can help to increase focus which can improve academic performance and reduce levels of stress and anxiety. Introducing activities that help practice mindfulness around bedtime can be a great way to calm them down before they go to sleep. Here are some ways you can begin to explore mindfulness with your child.
One of the best techniques to introduce mindfulness to your child is by helping them pay attention to their breathing. Ask them to focus on their body as they breathe. What’s moving? What can they feel changing? Putting their hands on their chest is a great way to become in tune with their breathing and learn to control it when it comes to anxiety and panic attacks.
Take mindful walks with your child and get them to point out sights and sounds along the way. This is a great way for them to become aware of their senses. Tuning into the environment is one of the best ways to feel grounded. Sitting on the floor, walking barefoot over the grass and even hugging a tree all have benefits when it comes to mindfulness.
An ideal activity to practice with children. It is practised regularly throughout the day so it is a great way to incorporate mindfulness. Give your child something they enjoy eating but ask them to practice mindful eating by savouring the food. Smelling the food and describing textures and tastes are ways to make them more mindful. This also can help decrease overeating and help with digestion.
This is the best time to practice mindfulness. If your child struggles with sleeping, you can use meditation techniques to help their mind and body calm down. Ask your child to lay down and close their eyes. Ask them to scan different parts of their body in their mind and what each part is doing. What senses can they feel? The idea is to get them to focus on the present rather than anything else that may be causing them to overthink and struggle to sleep.
At least once a day, encourage your child to practice mindfulness. This can be done anywhere simply by stopping and tuning into their senses. You can also do it together for a healthy bonding activity.
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