Photo credit: The Hawn Foundation
There have been countless studies promoting the benefits of mindfulness for adults, and studies are now showing that Children too can benefit from mindfulness. Researchers at the University of British Columbia have confirmed that mindfulness teaches children to be more optimistic, handle stress well, perform better in mathematics, and be better liked by their peers. As parents, you obviously want to share these benefits with your children, but knowing how to do so in an effective manner can be a daunting task. Following are three ideas for introducing mindfulness to your children in a fun way they’re sure to embrace.
Guide a mindful eating activity. Get your child’s favorite piece of chocolate or fruit ready for a tasty activity that will demonstrate what it means to be mindful in a delicious way. Sit at the table with your child and guide them through eating this treat with complete awareness. Before you begin, ask your child to place their feet firmly on the ground and to take a deep breath. When you’re ready to begin, guide them through a thorough observation of the treat itself. What color and shape is it? What does it smell and feel like? Proceed to guide them through taking a bite of their treat, encouraging them to pay close attention to the taste and texture as they slowly chew and swallow their sweet snack. Repeat with another two bites and bring the activity to a close by explaining that mindfulness is simply paying attention when we do the things we do everyday such as eat, read, and play.
Share a grateful moment before bed. Make a ritual of sharing gratitude for blessings each night at bedtime. Taking a moment to pause and express gratitude with your children, followed by a few mindful breaths together will create a happy, peaceful environment ideal for getting a restful night of sleep. This works particularly well with children who are pre-teens and early teens.
Make a ‘mind in a jar’ together. Take an afternoon to get crafty with your kids to illustrate the effects meditation has on the brain in a way that’s easy to understand. Put some sand in a jar and then fill it up with water and close it tightly. Shake the jar so that the grains of sand create a mini-sandstorm in the jar as you explain that these grains of sand floating around represent all of our thoughts and emotions floating around in our mind. As the sand settles again, offer up the conclusion that mindfulness meditation helps us to calm our active minds in a similar way.
Meditation instructor Alice Lash offers mindfulness meditation in Miami. Have further questions about how to introduce your children to mindfulness meditation? Contact Mindfultime today for the support you need.