Children are better at being in the present moment than adults. When you see small children playing, they are not worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. They are enjoying themselves in the moment. But as they get older, this natural state starts to fade. Especially after they enter school. So, the earlier we instill mindfulness in children, the better. This way they will not have to learn this skill when they have the stress and worries of being a teen or an adult. There are SO many benefits of Mindfulness and being in the Present moment. Improving physical and mental health, enhancing social and emotional skills, improving cognitive outcomes, and many more.
How do we teach mindfulness to our children? For starters – It is always best to teach our children through example! No matter what we want to teach our children, this is the BEST way. Practice Mindfulness yourself first. Your kids see and feel what you do every day. You can also daily encourage mindful behaviors like paying attention to what’s right in front of them and paying attention to how things feel and smell – even how their bodies feel.
Here are a few fun mindfulness activities:
Mindful hearing Game: Ask the child to sit quietly. Talk them through getting relaxed and settled. Ask them to close their eyes once they are comfortable (but closing their eyes is not necessary if they are not comfortable doing this.). First have them notice all the sounds in the room. Then have them take three breaths with you… and ask them to notice some new sounds. Ask them to quietly listen and notice – without any talking. Now you can try to introduce a few different quiet sounds: rustling of paper, running water, taking noisy drink of water, tapping, whatever you chose – get creative. You can talk about the sounds after the exercise.
Another exercise you can try is ask them to listen to the sound of a bell you will ring and raise their hand once they hear the sound stop. Try it a few times (sometimes shorter or longer). Talk about how they need to listen to the sound to notice when the sound stops. Listen very carefully.
One more activity you can try is all about our sense of touch. Have a paper bag and different objects you will put in it for them to feel and guess what they are feeling. You can put the objects in the bag when they close their eyes or do it behind them so they can not see. You can get creative about what objects you chose – nothing scary. Have them feel the object and describe what they are feeling and try to guess what it is they are feeling. This game can be lots of fun!
With any of these games, you can join it and have a turn too! You are never too old to practice being in the present moment. And playing with children is a great way! 😊