Practicing mindfulness can help kids learn to focus, manage stress, regulate emotions and develop a positive outlook. Being mindful is the opposite of rushing or multitasking. When you’re mindful, you’re taking your time. You’re focusing in a relaxed, easy way.
Here are some tips for teaching mindfulness at home.
Practice it yourself
Children learn by mimicking those around them, so why not set a good example? As a parent, teacher, or anyone who works closely with kids, using mindful breathing techniques yourself to release stress and other built-up emotions.
Choose a time for mindfulness. We are creatures of habit! Try to always practice mindfulness at the same time. Children are very accustomed to doing things every day on a routine schedule, So by designating a specific time every day to practice “breathing time”, your kids will get into a habit of practicing it.
Create the environment. Make it clear that mindfulness is a special time Similar to the above, children associate their environment with specific activities. Making a space for your kids to practice breathing, it should be quiet, comfortable, and relaxing. A corner of their room with a big comfy beanbag or a cozy sitting chair works great.
You share. Because children respond well when we relay our own experiences, you can share with your children, how and when you are using mindfulness in your life. We all know how quickly developing new habits fizzle out when they seem like hard work. And for children especially, you want to make sure that learning how to breathe mindfully is fun! The goal is to make it relaxing and enjoyable, not just another chore.
They share. Many kids like to share what they’ve noticed or experienced during mindfulness, or maybe something that was challenging or distracting. Sharing also allows everyone to be aware of things to notice while practicing mindfulness that they may not have heard otherwise.
Practice every day! The sooner you begin integrating mindfulness exercises into your daily routine, even for just a minute at a time, the quicker it will become a part of their daily life.
Give lots of encouragement. Everyone thrives on encouragement, especially children! Let them know they’re doing great, even if it takes some time to get into the habit. Every step is a positive one, and every stumble is a learning experience. This mindset alone is the basis for many self-help books and a highly recognized success principle.
Try it with our daily mindfulness script and instructions below can be done in just one or two minutes.
A simple way to do it is, one minute of mindful listening and one minute of mindful breathing.
1. “Let’s get into your ‘mindful bodies’—still and quiet, sitting upright, eyes closed.”
2. “Now place all your attention on the sound you are about to hear. Listen until the sound is completely gone.”
3. Ring a “mindfulness bell”. Use a bell with a sustained sound or a rainstick to encourage mindful listening.
4. “When you can no longer hear the sound, slowly, mindfully, move your hand to your stomach or chest, and just feel your breathing.”
6. You can help your child stay focused during the breathing with reminders like, “Just breathing in … just breathing out …”