6 Ways to Foster Mindfulness in Young Children
Mindfulness is a way of being aware and present in one's life. It involves paying attention to the moment-to-moment experiences without judgment, something we know all moms need (and kids too!) Practicing mindfulness with young children can help them develop concentration, regulate emotions, and build resilience.
Introducing mindfulness practice into your daily life with your children can be a fun and meaningful experience for the entire family. You might start by taking a few moments to engage in mindful listening with your child – simply give them your full attention as they share their ideas and experiences. Going for nature walks and exploring the sounds, sights, and textures of the environment can also be a great way of connecting with the world around us. Alternatively, you could use objects from everyday life such as play dough or other sensory items to explore their qualities together. Yoga poses or movements that involve stretching or joint compression encourage physical awareness while also promoting relaxation. Additionally, working on breathing exercises like blowing bubbles or observing sensations in the body can help you both move through transitions more easily. Practicing mindfulness is entirely personal and can be done in the simplest of ways. Here are 6 ways that we found helpful as fellow busy moms!
Mindful Listening Exercises
Mindful listening exercises are a great way to engage young children in mindful practices. You can start by playing a game where you turn off all electronic devices and ask your child to listen carefully for any sounds coming from the environment. Ask your little one to close their eyes and take notice of what they can hear around them. This exercise will help your child become more aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations as well as their surroundings.
Nature Walks for Mindfulness
Getting out into nature is an excellent way for children to practice mindfulness. Going on nature walks encourages kids to pay attention to the details of their environment—the colors, smells, textures, shapes, etc.—which can help them be more mindful of themselves and the world around them. Nature walks also provide opportunities for you to talk about emotions with your child and give them space to process those feelings through conversation or just being in nature together.
Exploring Objects Through Touch and Other Senses
Setting up an exploration box—a container filled with various objects such as shells, rocks, leaves, feathers, or other items found in nature—can be a fun way for kids to explore their senses while practicing mindfulness. Invite your child to touch each object carefully and pay attention to how it feels against their skin or how it looks when they hold it up against the light or turn it over in their hands. By engaging with these objects through touch and other senses such as sight or smell, kids learn how to focus on the present moment rather than worrying about the past or future.
Yoga Poses and Other Movement Exercises
Movement exercises like yoga poses can help children practice mindfulness because they involve focusing on physical postures while taking deep breaths throughout each pose. These activities also help kids understand that there is no right or wrong way of doing something; rather it's about being in tune with your body while focusing on breathing deeply throughout each pose which helps foster a sense of calmness within oneself.
Deep breathing exercises are another great way for kids to practice mindfulness since they involve focusing on one’s breath. This practice helps bring awareness into the present moment instead of ruminating on past events or worrying about future scenarios. Some simple breathing techniques include counting breaths (inhale 1-2-3-4; exhale 4-3-2-1), imagining each inhale bringing fresh air into the body followed by each exhale releasing stale air outwards from the body; or visualizing that each inhale brings warmth/calmness/peace into oneself followed by each exhale releasing any worries/anxiety/stress outwards from oneself.
Leading By Example
Mindfulness is an incredible skill that helps us to deeply connect with ourselves, our lives and the world around us. It's especially useful in times of stress and overwhelm, as it facilitates a more centered and peaceful mindset. Perfectly summarized, mindfulness is about bringing your awareness and attention to the present moment without judgment. Best of all, it’s something that everyone can do anywhere, anytime. Whether you're peeling potatoes or at your desk at work - mindfulness techniques can be integrated into the mundane moments of everyday life to help cultivate a greater appreciation and enjoyment of the here and now. And all that being said, your kids notice -- and will be inspired to find mindfulness for themselves if they're seeing it modeled consistently.
Practicing mindfulness helps us stay in tune with ourselves and our internal processes. It can help us observe the sensations that occur in various parts of our body and then consciously link them with the thoughts and emotions that arise at that moment. This connection becomes even more pronounced when we cultivate an attitude of non-judgment as we explore these interrelated experiences. As we become more present and aware of our feelings, it can grant us a greater understanding of how we respond to different people and situations, allowing us to modify our reactions or approach things differently in order to benefit both ourselves and those around us. All of which is necessary for the wildly unpredictable, yet entirely beautiful journey called motherhood.
We hope you found these tips helpful, and would love to hear more of the ways that you practice mindfulness with your own littles in the comments! And as always, be sure to follow on Instagram + Join Our Email List to save 15% off your first order from us here at Ade + Ayo!