For parents and grandparents of 6-to-12-year-olds, finding ways to ensure their children’s wellbeing can be a challenge. One powerful tool that’s guaranteed to help is mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment, with an attitude of openness and non-judgment.
Encouraging kids to be mindful in their everyday lives can have profound effects on helping them handle stress, build self-confidence, and manage their feelings.
10 STEPS TO MORE MINDFUL KIDS
So, how can parents and grandparents promote mindfulness in their children’s lives? Here are 10 fun action steps that can make mindfulness effective and enjoyable for children of this age group:
* 1 * Have a chat about mindfulness!
Explain its purpose and provide simple examples, such as mindful breathing and meditation.
The wellbeing section in BRILLIANT BRAINZ, the UK’s monthly creative learning magazine for children, always features fun exercises and tips for kids to improve their lives and has featured many useful mind games and exercises our young readers can use to increase their mindfulness (for examples, see Wellbeing In Children).
* 2 * Get your kids to practice mindfulness throughout the day
Suggest they take regular pauses to check in with themselves and notice their feelings.
* 3 * Make mindfulness part of family time
Try doing mindful activities such as mindful walking, mindful eating, and mindful drawing.
* 4 * Take time out to practice mindfulness together
Invite your children to join you for your own mindfulness practice or lead them in a short meditation session.
* 5 * Show your kids that mindfulness is cool.
Be conscious of the way you talk and the way you respond to different situations. If you ‘lose it’ at the slightest inconvenience, you won’t be modeling mindfulness very well.
Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded. ~ Buddha
So, lead by example. Demonstrate how mindfulness gives you perspective… and helps you keep your cool!
* 6 * Use games to make mindfulness fun
Create games that center around being mindful, such as “mindful listening” (how many birds can you hear? what other sounds?) or “mindful noticing” (how many cars did we pass on this road? what colour shirt was the postman wearing?).
* 7 * Let them know the power of mindfulness
Explain to them how mindfulness can help them better manage their emotions, reduce stress, and make more positive choices. Sometimes it’s helpful to point out the opposite too — how not being mindful (and blowing up or reacting without being conscious of what you are doing) leads to negative results and unhappy feelings.
* 8 * Reward your kids for practicing mindfulness
Praise their efforts and provide positive reinforcement when they engage in mindful activities. Nurture their early practice with plenty of encouragement until it becomes part of who they are and a skill that they draw upon every day.
* 9 * See if there are mindfulness classes in your area
Many schools and community centers offer classes designed specifically for children of this age group.
A more formalised setting, and sharing the experience with kids of their own age and peer group, may help some kids take it more seriously while getting more enjoyment from it.
* 10 * Spend quality time with your children
Connecting and spending time with your children will help them feel loved and understood, which can help foster mindfulness. When you a really present with your kids, they feel and receive your attention and caring. That’s what mindfulness is – giving space and attention to what is there before you. That’s love.
Mindful Kids Enjoy Greater Wellbeing
We’ve learned that mindfulness can be an effective and fun way for parents and grandparents to help promote their children’s wellbeing. By taking the time to talk to them about mindfulness, encouraging them to practice it in their everyday lives, and modeling mindful behavior, you can help your children and grandkids learn how to better manage their feelings and make more positive choices.
Additionally, by making mindfulness fun and providing positive reinforcement, as well as exploring mindfulness classes and spending quality time with your kids, you will be able to support your child’s overall wellbeing while nurturing a lifelong practice of mindfulness.
With practice and consistency, mindfulness can be an invaluable tool for any 6-to-12-year-old (not to mention for their parents, carers, and extended relatives), providing them with an outlet for emotional and mental growth.