Ten Ways To Teach Mindfulness Meditation To Your Kids

Mindfulness is a compassionate way of accepting any present moment without reacting.

Published
Parenting
4 min read
Mindfulness is a compassionate way of accepting any present moment without reacting.
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Rewa an eighth grader gets a stomach ache every time she has a math test. Anxious and high-strung, she is angry for no apparent reason. Medication hasn’t helped, however, mindfulness meditation can.

What is Mindfulness Meditation?

Mindfulness is a compassionate way of accepting any present moment without reacting.
Mindfulness is a compassionate way of accepting any present moment without reacting.
(Photo: iStockphoto)
Mindfulness is a compassionate way of accepting any present moment without reacting.

Based on Buddhist tradition, the practice has become popular in recent years.

It teaches you to become fully aware of whatever is happening in the ‘here’ and ‘now,’ immersing in the experience. This gentle practice helps kids of all ages to be calm, curious and happy, by assisting them to understand the difference between a response and reaction.

Kids especially toddlers are naturally mindful. As we grow older we lose this ability.

What Mindfulness Does?

Chaos in pre-school classrooms can be calmed by introducing daily mindfulness practices for few minutes every day.
Chaos in pre-school classrooms can be calmed by introducing daily mindfulness practices for few minutes every day.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Research shows that mindfulness improves attention, regulates emotions and increases self-compassion. It reduces anxiety and distress in upsetting situations including stressful social interactions.

Goldie Hawn, the well-known American actress has founded MindUP a program for Pre-K-8th grade students to improve focus and engagement in learning and equipping them with resources to develop social and emotional skills.

In her book ‘10 Mindful Minutes’ she says’, “The same way you brush your teeth every morning, you should brush your brain with meditation and remove the build up of fear and worry which prevents you from experiencing the happiness you are seeking."

Chaos in pre-school classrooms can be calmed by introducing daily mindfulness practices for few minutes every day.

Ten Ways to Teach Mindfulness To Kids

Start with small, consistent action steps. Here are few ideas.

Begin Yourself

Example is a great way to teach anything. Create a regular practice of meditation that your kid notices. He will follow when he sees you practicing.

Let Go

Letting go of any pre-conceived notions and expectations is essential. Mindfulness cannot be taught or learned by being purposeful. It is about ‘being’ and not ‘doing’. If you are looking for results like reducing mood swings or tantrums, won’t be a mindfulness practice, because expectations defy mindfulness.

Simplicity Rules

A simple practice of lying in the bed with your kid closing eyes and noticing the sounds at night, is a great start. Observing or noticing increases mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a ‘Break’

A short five-minute break can do wonders.
A short five-minute break can do wonders.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

A short five-minute break can do wonders. Ask your kid to close his eyes and take five deep breaths anytime of the day. Initially it could be two minutes. Try doing this exercise at the same place and time every day for best results.

Earth Connection

Focusing on connection with the Earth is a powerfully anchoring practice. Feeling your feet touching the ground calms the body. This is a great grounding experience.

Soft Toy Meditation

This an easy way to calm kids. Let him have his favourite soft to toy on his belly while lying on the back. Observing the soft toy rising and falling with the breath can do wonders.

Mindful Eating

Teach kids to bless the food, feel grateful and eat slowly.
Teach kids to bless the food, feel grateful and eat slowly.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

Eating has become so mechanical that it's almost on auto pilot. Our hands feed us, we aren’t tasting or savouring.

Mindful eating is eating without distractions. Relishing the eating experience is the only motive. Teach kids to bless the food, feel grateful and eat slowly.

Sleep-Time Ritual

A bedtime mindfulness practice helps calming the nervous system and assists in deep sleep. Body scan meditations are ideal for night. Many guided body scan meditations are available as free downloads.

Walking

Mindfully walking by consciously placing each foot on the ground is a great outdoor practice. Start by counting hundred steps slowly increase the number.

Doodling

Doodle art is easy to teach. Search on Pinterest for a few age appropriate ideas to draw doodles. Let your child have some doodle time in his day. The activity destresses the mind and enhances creativity.

Points to Remember

There are two important elements of mindfulness practice. Mindfulness can never be forced, and not using mindfulness as a punishment. It will never work.

  • Practicing mindfulness helps kids to cultivate skills to handle inner and outer experiences, comprehend thoughts as 'just thoughts' and learn that believing is their choice.
  • It helps in understanding the mind body connection by recognizing the effect of emotions in the body. It provides tools to recognize the wandering attention and to bring it back.

However, mindfulness is not magic, but a wise way of handling emotions.

(Nupur Roopa is a freelance writer, and a life coach for mothers. She writes articles on environment, food, history, parenting and travel. You can read part one of this blog here.)

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