5 Steps to Practice Mindfulness with Your Child
Emily Jean, Founder of Your Mindful Child, created an easy guide for parents on how to practice mindfulness with their children. Read on to learn how these steps can lead to a happier and calmer home.
As an expert in bringing mindfulness into homes, I know that starting a mindfulness practice as a family doesn’t have to be hard. Here are 5 easy ways to incorporate daily mindfulness as a family.
STEP 1: START A MORNING GRATITUDE ROUTINE
Expressing gratitude has been shown to improve self-esteem, increase productivity, and even make us more likable! Together as a family, take turns sharing three things you are grateful for that day. This quick routine can take place first thing when everyone wakes up, at the breakfast table or even on your way to dropping the kids off at school!
Expressing gratitude in the morning sets us up for a happier day.
When children have a positive attitude, they can enjoy school more. And enjoying school is a key to your children’s learning and growth.
Suggested Reading: Just So Thankful by Mercer Mayer
STEP 2: UNPLUG AS A FAMILY
In today’s tech-driven world, it’s as important to unplug with your family as it is to brush your teeth twice a day. Unplugging means putting your internet devices out of sight, or even turning them off (gasp!). Unplugging has the power to increase the feeling of connection within your family and even improves quality of sleep.
Try tech-free dinners. They create more opportunities for mindful eating, so your family can experience the joys of eating intentionally and connecting over food. Your kids may even try something new!
Suggested Reading: No Ordinary Apple by Sara Marlowe
STEP 3: GET OUTDOORS TOGETHER
Fresh air and a connection to nature gives us that “grounded” feeling and has been proven to improve our moods. So take a walk, play in the park, build a snowman, hike, or ride your bikes.
Just get outside and play together!
When children play, they use their creative abilities and imagination, which are two things that lead to critical thinking skills and mastering new concepts.
Suggested Reading: I Wonder Why by Lois Rock
STEP 4: MEDITATE WITH YOUR CHILDREN
I know what you’re thinking, but trust me…it is possible to meditate with your kids.
Find just a few minutes to sit or lay quietly together and listen to a guided visualization. Search Google or YouTube for “guided meditation for kids,” and you’ll find a ton of free resources to get started. If your kids want to roll over or shake their legs while meditating, let them move. Keep it short; 3-5 minutes is plenty. And celebrate any success you and your children have, even if they were only able to participate for a minute or two.
Meditation is proven to decrease stress, increase focus and self-awareness, and may even help us live longer!
Suggested Reading: Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee Maclean
STEP 5: TAKE TIME TO NOTICE THE SMALL THINGS
In our busy lives, we can often focus on the big picture, making it easy to miss out on the small things.
Being mindful means being present and living in the moment.
When we focus on what’s happening right now instead of that deadline tomorrow or how this morning’s meeting went, our eyes become open to the beauty and magic of right now.
Encourage your children to notice the small things. The easiest way to do this is to make a point of doing it yourself. Point out the way the wind makes clouds move and transform in the sky. Compliment that adorable freckle on your child’s chin. Watch the sunset. Modeling being present will have a huge impact on the way your children view life.
Suggested Reading: Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Children who practice mindfulness are more motivated, have higher academic performance, and experience thoughts of self-love more frequently.
Which of these tips are you willing to try with your own family? Start with the ones that feel the easiest and then move on to the others. Have fun, be patient, and remember to breathe.