9 Mindfulness Activities for Kids That Will Boost their Mental Resilience
As a parent, you want to see your children stay focused, present, and engaged — despite the continuous distractions from television, tablets, and smartphones.
Of course, academic skills are crucial for kids’ long-lasting success. However, your kid might not learn to deal with their feelings or emotions without intentional social-emotional growth and creating healthy connections with people. That is where mindfulness for kids kicks in.
A study reveals that primary-school kids practicing mindfulness twice a week over two years enjoyed an average of 74 minutes of extra sleep a night.
This statistic supports the idea that indulging kids in mindfulness practices early in their lives improves their well-being. It will help them take life in their stride no matter what stones life hurls at them.
Not sure where to start with the smallest members of your family? Below are nine easy mindfulness activities for kids that you should include in their lifestyle for better overall well-being.
Take a Nature Walk
A few minutes in the fresh air and a change of atmosphere is a simple yet effective combo that can induce mindfulness in your kid. Any walk through a quiet, natural setting will promote mindfulness as long as the activity is about observing the surroundings rather than just getting from one point to another.
While strolling, ask your kid to stay completely silent for some minutes and notice all the sounds they hear – wind rustling dry leaves, passing vehicles, a dog barking. After that, discuss what your child heard and how they felt about it.
Stop and Engage All Five Senses
Part of mindfulness is living in the present, and there are various ways to bring your kids’ focus back to the now. For instance, when your kid is brushing teeth, ask them, “What does it sound like? What does it feel like?”
You do not need to be somewhere special to engage in this mindful activity, either. You can do it in the queue at a departmental store, as an example. Teaching your kids to open their ears and eyes to what is actually happening around them is a pretty nice way. Besides, you can also turn this into a game.
Take Some Deep Breaths
Paying attention to the motion of their bellies (going up and down) and the sounds of their breath helps kids learn to inhabit the present moment. To do this, stretch out on a floor with your preschooler and put your hands on your respective bellies.
Here is an idea to add some fun to this mindfulness activity for kids. While inhaling, tell your kid to pretend they are smelling something delicious, such as a piece of pizza or choco brownies in the oven. And on the exhale, they can pretend to cool the hot choco brownie or blow out candles.
If your kid cannot sit still for more than a few minutes, pull the plug on the activity. Start with 8-10 breaths and, with time, rise to several minutes.
Deep breathing is one of the critical skills you should teach in mindfulness for children. It not only centers your kid and soothes their nervous systems but also offers them a means to use if they feel berserk or stressed.
Savor the Food
Eating a snack or other food item mindfully engages all five senses, and it is fun and easy to do. Food is a lot more than simply fuel.
First, tell your child to pick one of their food items. There are no rules here! Before shoving the food in the mouth, encourage them to think about its shape, appearance, texture, and color for about a minute.
Then, when your kid put it in their mouths, instruct them to focus on how the food feels and tastes in their mouth.
By slowing down and noticing the food, children are more likely to savor it, digest it better, and enjoy the meal more.
Do Some Yoga
Pre-schoolers can do yoga! This mindfulness activity is an excellent way to enhance your kid’s awareness of the mind-body connection. Moreover, yoga does not ask the impossible of kids – sitting still. Instead, it influences children to burn off energy while centering their minds with controlled and purposeful movements.
There are loads of free child-friendly yoga classes available online and nearby you can sign up for. Remember, create a clean, safe space to practice yoga. After the session, ask your kid what they did and did not like.
Like other mindfulness skills, yoga will train your child the ability to cope.
Count the Heartbeats
Next time your kid is in the throes of a meltdown, try this easy exercise that involves nothing more than listening to the rhythmic sound of their heartbeats.
If your kid, for example, is finishing their math homework and feeling stuck or getting frustrated, calmly divert them by asking them to stop whatever they are doing and take a breather.
Encourage your kid to either jump up and down or do jumping jacks for a minute. When that minute ends, have them put their hand on their hearts and focus on how their breathing and heartbeats feel.
Tuning in to the body’s sensations is a fantastic way to reroute the focus. With this new flurry of energy, your kid will feel a new stimulus to complete the pending task.
Write your Thoughts
Journaling is a tried-and-tested mindfulness observation exercise that suits the tween and teen cohort well. The purpose for kids here is to be familiar with their thoughts, emotions, and bodies and how they are experiencing stress at that very moment.
Encourage your kid to write about their day-to-day activities in a journal. Pick a particular section of the day, such as their afternoon at the school or morning routine, and ask them to recall what they did.
Initially, they might jot down vague thoughts, like “I brushed my teeth and then later took a bath.” But with practice, they will start digging deeper into their day with more detail.
Meditation helps children reflect on their inner self and the external world. Good news – you do not have to be a yogi to help your child reach a more mindful state. Instead, you can use some meditation apps that boast a ton of diverse content designed for mindfulness-seekers of all ages.
Try various meditation exercises to prepare you and your kid with mindfulness skills, focusing inwards rather than outwards, which can be challenging when so much is happening around you.
Give your kid a random object, like a rock or a leaf. Instruct them to hold the object in their hands and look at it for a few minutes. Although they see similar objects at all times, looking at them more carefully can give them a fresh perspective.
Afterward, ask your little tot to draw the object. Let them take their time and add some details. Just make sure they know this is not an art competition. The idea behind this mindfulness activity is to help kids pay attention to one thing at a time.
While it requires practice, making time every day to perform mindfulness will work wonders for your kids and yourself as a parent.
If your kid struggles to focus, lacks proper self-regulation skills, and/or struggles with anxiety, stress, or depression, give these mindfulness activities a try. They are not supposed to be separate from reality but be an essential and enriching part of it.
That said, as with any new skill – especially in this case – slow and steady is the best way to go.
At LEAD Powered Schools, we ensure the holistic development of children through an integrated approach towards learning. 12 lakh+ parents across India trust LEAD for ensuring excellent and holistic education for their children Find out more