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5 ways to make mindfulness a part of your child's day

To raise resilient children, parents need to empower their children to navigate emotions and take a mindful stop in times of stress

Parents and guardians need to not only support kids but also empower them to take an active role in protecting their own well-being. (Pexels)

By Sukhna Sawhney

LAST PUBLISHED 25.10.2023  |  01:30 PM IST

Childhood is often seen as a carefree time, but kids can face stressful situations that affect their well-being. Young children can experience trauma and struggle to cope, leading to long-term effects. Teaching them how to deal with adversity and emotional challenges is crucial.

As an early childhood care and education specialist, I see a need for caretakers to not only support kids but also empower them to take an active role in protecting their well-being. 

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For this, I have five fun and practical ways for parents to teach mindfulness to their young children. These activities are not only helpful but also easy to incorporate into daily routines. Resilience improves with practice, so encourage your child to remember and use these strategies until they become second nature.

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Balloon breaths

One of the simplest and most successful ways to introduce mindfulness to children is to teach them to focus on their breath. Make it into a game by naming it "balloon breaths". Here's how:

  • Sit down in a quiet, comfortable place with your child
  • Ask your youngster to picture their stomach as a balloon. Exhaling is like letting the air out of a balloon
  • Encourage your youngster to breathe slowly and deeply, inflating and deflating their "balloon" tummy
  • Count your child's breaths together, gradually increasing the count as he or she gets more at ease

 

This activity not only teaches children to focus but also to calm down when they are unhappy or frightened.

Meditative walks in nature 

Connecting with nature can be a terrific approach to promote mindfulness in children. Take your child on a nature walk and encourage them to use their senses to investigate the world. Here is what you can do:

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  • Accompany your youngster to a local park or garden
  • Ask them to pay attention to what they see, hear, smell, and touch. They can, for example, hear birds sing, smell flowers, and feel the bark of a tree
  • Encourage your child to describe their findings. This helps children become aware of their environment and the current moment

 

Nature walks not only increase your child's awareness, but they also improve their mental health and build their bond with you as a parent.

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Dedicated colouring time

For children, colouring can be a peaceful and attentive hobby. Give your youngster colouring books as well as a range of colouring supplies such as coloured pencils, crayons, or markers. Here's how you can make colouring a conscious practice:

  • Lay out colouring supplies on a table for your child
  • Request him/her to choose a page and begin colouring
  • Encourage children to focus on the colours, the strokes they produce, and the details of the picture; do not limit their inventiveness by limiting the colours or the colouring space

 

While your child is colouring, talk about their choices and encourage them to reflect on how they feel as they create their masterpiece. Colouring allows children to express themselves and concentrate on the current moment.

Reflective storytelling

Storytelling can be a fun approach to teach youngsters about mindfulness. Choose a book with a relaxing and good message, or better yet, make up your own narrative together. Here are some tips for attentive storytelling:

  • Select a peaceful, comfortable location for storytelling
  • Pause at critical points in the story to ask your child questions about the characters' feelings, ideas, and actions
  • Encourage your youngster to consider how they might react in similar circumstances

 

By talking about the characters' experiences, you are helping your child comprehend emotions and exercise empathy, both of which are important parts of mindfulness.

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Eating consciously using a "taste test"

Teaching mindfulness during meals can improve your child's eating habits and overall well-being. Make a taste test" exercise for your child to enjoy each bite. Here's how to go about it:

  • Select a fruit or snack that your youngster appreciates but does not consume consciously on a regular basis
  • Assemble at the table with the chosen food
  • Instruct your child to investigate the meal using all of their senses, including how it looks, smells, feels, and tastes
  • Encourage them to describe the flavours, textures, and any other aspects of the food

 

By employing these easy yet engaging activities, parents can empower their young children to enjoy the present now, navigate emotions, take a mindful stop in times of stress, and find delight on the journey to self-discovery. 

While these strategies can help a child respond to a current situation, some longer-term strategies include developing a safe, loving relationship with your children with open communication channels, providing opportunities for them to troubleshoot independently, building their self-love, and supporting them in accepting changes and understanding alternate perspectives. 

Sukhna Sawhney is Content and Curriculum Lead, Rocket Learning