Whether the children you care for are loud and raucous or quiet and pensive, this article is for you. Because mindfulness is good for all and especially for children!
IT WORKS. Mindfulness for children is good for their psychological and physical development because it enables them to express themselves effectively and most positively. You can easily introduce this tool to children using little activities for their well-being. Not only in moments of negative behavior or transitional periods, like when they are dropped off by their parents but for their well-being in general.
The difference is in the difference
We can qualify whether mindfulness works by noting the differences it makes in the child! Why not encourage the child also to tell you how they feel? How is it different now? Once their state is calmer, they will feel more secure and have space to express how they feel to you. These are the moments when we find out that their bad behavior was actually because they fell out with somebody at school, or are feeling tired… so we can respond compassionately to them as little human beings 🙂
If a child is upset, angry, or anxious their breath is usually short and shallow. We all know that telling a child to ‘calm down and ‘take a deep breath’ at that moment doesn’t always work. Refocus the child with breathing exercises:
Breathing properly from the abdomen immediately helps children to focus clearly and to calm their state.
1) Toy on my tummy
Have the child put a toy of their choice on their tummy and see how they can make it slowly (!) go up and down as they breathe. 5 breath cycles are a good measure and if you can only have them do one set you will see the difference!
2) See and smell
This could be in the park, on a walk, or an activity that you have prepared at home. The child has to smell objects of any kind and describe the odor. How about:
- Flowers in the park
- A tray of different soaps
- Different foods such as orange, mint, lemon, cheese
- Plants and herbs such as mint, lavender, thyme, rosemary, basil
3) Music matters
If you can use toys or objects to create music, or simply can sing together or listen to music together, this is a healthy and positive way for a child to express themselves. It encourages them to really listen and to tune in their senses. Their awareness comes naturally with a music activity; your role really is just to guide them.
4) Calm coloring
Colouring is an instant bad mood fix! A quick search online will find you free coloring pages and even mandalas 🙂 Why not change your mood and color along with the children!
Mindfulness for children is about encouraging awareness and stimulating their senses. Here is a link to my article on stimulating senses.