Mindfulness, in the most basic form, refers to the practice of paying attention to the here and now. It means slowing down and realizing what you’re doing, feeling, hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling or thinking at any given moment. It’s trending now for adults to practice mindfulness, but the truth is that kids can benefit from attaining this state of mind as well.
How to Practice Being Present
By teaching mindfulness at a young age, you can equip your children with the skills they need to approach the world with openness, self-compassion and presence, and to handle daily stressors in a constructive way. Additionally, studies show that mindfulness, when taught early on, leads to several other beneficial outcomes. For your children, this may look like the following:
- Less distractibility
- Better focus
- Increased learning capacity
- Ability to stay calm in stressful situations
- Better listening skills
- More patience
- More happiness and enjoyment
Though true mindfulness is instinctive, it may take some practice to get you and your children to the point where you no longer have to think about being present but just are. Our resource center boasts dozens of practical tactics and exercises for helping individuals of all ages develop a more mindful way of living. Below are three your family can put to use today.
Practicing mindfulness is as easy as breathing — seriously. For your first exercise, find a quiet, comfortable place where you and your children can sit and relax. Each of you close your eyes and just breathe. Concentrate on each breath you take but not in a forced way. Focus on how the air tickles your nostrils when you breathe out, and how your stomach expands when you breathe in. When you find your mind wandering to, say, what you plan to make for dinner or the conversation you had with your spouse the night before, bring it back to just your breathing. Do this for five minutes. Following, ask your children to share how it made them feel, and what they liked about it. Doing this short, easy exercise nightly can be a great start.
Balancing is a great way to teach mindfulness to young children whose minds are prone to wandering, as balancing requires individuals to focus on the act alone. For instance, balancing on one foot necessitates concentration, otherwise you might lose your balance and fall. Once your children become pros at maintaining a certain position for a set length of time, encourage them to pay attention to how their bodies feel in said position, such as the way it distributes the weight, how the muscles work together to keep the body upright and the way the toes dig into the floor when the body experiences a moment of unsteadiness.
When done in a slow and focused manner, stretching is another great mindfulness exercise for young children. Stretching encourages postural awareness and incites feelings of relaxation and well-being. While stretching in and of itself is good for whole body health, you can make it beneficial for the mind as well by asking your children to pay attention to the way their muscles stretch when in a certain position, the rate of their breathing, how the yoga mat feels beneath their hands and the way their muscles progressively relax with each passing minute.When you teach your children mindfulness techniques early on, you’re setting them up to lead mindful and more fulfilling lives. If you find you are in need of additional support, supplement these tactics with a product such as Brillia, a safe and scientifically formulated way to improve focus and clarity, reduce symptoms of hyperactivity, regulate emotion, that is impactful, does not have harmful side effects and is very child-friendly.