Child Friendly Mindfulness
Before we get started, (if you haven’t already), go on over to my previous blog post ‘10 Benefits of Being Mindful’ and find out about all the amazing benefits of being mindful before you give this one a read!
As a quick recap for you all, what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment with our whole body, mind and emotions. Being mindful means feeling the ground beneath your feet, the wind in your hair, feeling connected to yourself through a lens of compassion, empathy, understanding and kindness, and to others through that same lens.
In today’s blog post we’re going to discuss some amazing child friendly mindfulness techniques you can do at home!
Being a Mindful Parent
One of the best ways to encourage your children to be mindful, is to be mindful yourself, especially when parenting. Remember, children learn so much from example and imitation! There are many ways that you can work towards being a more mindful parent. Here are just a few examples:
- Become a coregulator – When your child’s brain is in overwhelm and they are having difficulty regulating their emotions, try to be the voice of calm and safe anchor for your child
- Model repair if you make a mistake – It’s important to remember that children learn so much from how their parents behave. If you make a mistake and are in the wrong, remember to apologise. Model how you would want your child to respond if they were to make a mistake
- Model empathy and kindness – Become the safe harbour for yourself and your child, read inspiring stories, focus on helping others less fortunate in your community
- Prioritise family connection time – Make more time to communicate with your children. Try not to use devices or screens, and prioritise eye contact, physical connection, play, fun and creativity
- Make time for brain building integration exercises – These can include emotional check-ins (with yourself, and with your child/children), family gratitude rituals, and goodbye rituals to fill your children’s ‘cuddle tanks’ before separations
A child friendly mindfulness technique that you can do at home with your child/children is mindful breathing. The most basic way to do mindful breathing is simply to focus your attention on your breath, the inhale and exhale. With children, you can do this in many different ways.
- Using a Hovermann Sphere (‘‘breathing ball’) – Using these you can practice controlling the breath together
- Blow bubbles
- Blow feathers back and forth to each other
- Blow cotton wool across scarf to each other
- Blow a pinwheel
- Make up your own breathing games pretending to be different animals
- Breathe in the good, breathe out the bad feelings/sensations
- Breathe into different parts of your body and ask them to relax
Family Gratitude Practice
Another great way of being mindful at home is to start a family gratitude practice. There are lots of different super creative ways to do this!
- Start a family gratitude journal that you all add to weekly or daily – Start with 1 or 2 things you feel grateful for each day
- Create a gratitude jar/box – put in slips of paper with your gratitudes and read as a family once a week
- Go through what you’re grateful for before bed each night
- Check in with highs and lows of day at family dinner (with no screens!) If there have been lows, how did you deal with that feeling/situation? Is there anything else you could have done? What would you do next time?
- Draw out your gratitudes from the day/week
- Draw/write/speak about what you’re grateful for about each other
- Write or draw family love letters to each other
Family Reflection Space
Setting up a family reflection space can be a really powerful way of bringing more mindfulness into your life. Choose a corner/room that can provide a break out space away from family if required. It’s important that wherever you chose is never used as a timeout or punishment space. This reflection space can help self-regulation/self responsibly when behaviours are escalating, build emotional IQ, insight and empathy, encourage cause and effect thinking, provide reflection opportunity, aid whole brain integration, and can help target how to repair relationships after a mistake has been made.
You will need to teach and model this overtime before your children can understand and copy. Sit with them and encourage them through the process. This can be done as part of your expanding family connection time.
Even more mindful activities!
- Create a Mindfulness Glitter Jar for breathing/calm down practice
- Play together – be present, laugh, touch, have fun, be active, create safety, attachment, lower cortisol (stress hormone), increase dopamine (pleasure hit)
- Do fun family yoga together before bed
- Practice mindfulness meditation together
- Make breathing charts and practice breathing together – talk about when we can use our magic breaths
- Talk about the brain – the wise owl (the prefrontal cortex which helps keep us calm) and the guard dog (the amygdala that tries to alert us to danger) – how do we show our guard dog we are safe?
- Create art, music, food, lego together – connect with each other. Ask your child what they would love to do with you and make a list/jar/book of the ideas for your family
- Use conscious positive language around your child – you are wiring their self-belief and confidence
- Throw a family dance party
- Have the family bounce on a trampoline, have a water fight, go for a bike ride, connect with healthy physical touch and respect your child’s boundaries
- Create a family journal of the day
- Have a mindful dinner out – really taste flavours, savour smells
- Blow Bubbles
So have we convinced you to incorporate more fun, connection, and mindfulness into your life? Even some small changes can have a huge impact on your family’s emotional wellbeing and help build better, more healthy and resilient brains!
Wondering what kind of items you can use to help you become more mindful? Check out our online store to see some of my favourite, most used items such as:
- The Hoberman sphere (used for aid self-regulation and mindfulness skills)
- The Go Yogi! Card Set (yoga for children)
- Fidget Stress Toy (for relaxation)
- Weighted Products
- Mindfulness books
Where can I get more information?
To find out more about mindfulness programs that we run, check out our workshops page here: http://artisticrevolutions.com.au/services/workshops-and-training/ where we offer courses such as ‘Mindful Mummies’ and ‘Fill your Cup’ creative arts workshops.