Promoting mindfulness in children
For a child, the world can be a big, busy place. So much to explore and experience – it can simply be a life of go, go, go!
Just like adults, kids can lead lives filled with set schedules and full days; and whether filled with fun or not, they can be overwhelming, stressful, and exhausting.
Fortunately, mindfulness is an easy practice to nurture in kids that can:
- ease anxiety
- foster compassion
- enhance focus and memory
- encourage patience
- cultivate self-soothing
all the while, teaching a young one how to live in the present moment.
What great skills that can last a lifetime!
So how can you foster mindfulness in kids?
A walk in the park, a hike in the woods, and other outdoor expeditions can be mindfulness playgrounds so opt for them when you can!
While outdoors, point out things such as falling snow or a blooming flower and stop to notice them fully.
Go one step further by engaging the senses and then ask questions.
For example, take in deep breaths around the flower, admiring its scent. Then, ask what it smells like, if it’s a strong or faint smell, and if the child likes it or not.
Nature can be an easy way to inspire kids to slow down and notice the world around them.
Breathing techniques can be a helpful way to calm an upset child, making it a healthy habit to reinforce.
For a simple practice, encourage little ones to think of their belly as a balloon.
Have them place their hands on their belly and guide them to notice how slowly breathing in fills the balloon and slowly breathing out deflates the balloon.
Help them repeat this exercise several times.
Sharing what we are grateful for can be a meaningful way to develop mindfulness.
Start by expressing your appreciation for someone or something at the dinner table, during the car ride to school, or after a bedtime story and ask your child about something they are grateful for as well.
Relax and play
It can seem a given, but not every child frolics all day long.
Play can be valuable in letting imaginations develop and create, not to mention the ability to simply let the mind rest in something enjoyable.
(Note that is can be helpful for you, too!).
Encourage activities such as painting, coloring, and make believe.
Be a role model
While there are plenty of additional ways to foster mindfulness in children, the most influential one may be the modeling of mindfulness we practice as parents.
Utilizing healthy tools to help you unwind, find gratitude, notice the world, and stay present such as, but not limited to:
- deep breathing/meditation
- expressing thanks
- drawing, painting
- listening to music
- playing an instrument
- taking an Epsom salt bath
can forge a mindful framework for kids that they can take with them their entire lives.
Living mindfully can be a lifelong practice but one that boasts positive health effects and promotes overall wellbeing. A child that learns this tool may just live happier and healthier because of it.
Does your child suffer from excessive worry, stress, or fears? Or, are you concerned over behavior and/or health issues?
If you live in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs or the greater Denver metro area, please contact us for pediatric naturopathic support at (303) 688-6698 or click here to schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation with Dr. Graves.
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