Mindfulness is a current buzzword. I’ve heard it in news articles, on social media and touted by celebrities. Mindfulness is also becoming a part of the books we read, including books written for little kids.
All of this made me wonder what exactly mindfulness is and what is its value to me. Mindfulness is an intentional and non-judgmental awareness of the present. It is being purposeful of what we feel, what is happening inside our body, what we are doing and how we are doing. Mindfulness can take several forms like deep-breathing, guided imagery and meditation.
For a young child, mindfulness is about forming healthy habits that will impact their behavior as teens and as adults. Consider, building coping skills for your child’s big feelings and to help them live with kindness, acceptance and peace. Practicing mindfulness can help children learn to focus, regulate emotions, manage stress and develop a positive outlook.
Mindfulness includes repetition and also allows kids to be kids. This means the activities are simple and playful. Foster mindfulness through movement, music, games and artwork. Model mindfulness by focusing on the moment.
My favorite mindfulness activity is a “listening walk” or a “safari.” Take a walk with your child and focus on the sounds you hear. What do they remind you of? What happy thought comes to mind? To make it a safari use all of your senses to notice as many birds, bugs and animals as you can. Both ideas are simple and provide an awareness in the present. Even blowing bubbles can be a mindfulness activity. When your child blows bubbles ask them to watch one bubble as far as it will go.
To learn more read this New York Times article on mindfulness for children and check out these books to help you practice mindfulness with your child.