Learning mindfulness techniques early in life can be a useful tool to help reduce and control stress into adulthood. As in most cases, the more you practice, the easier it becomes and eventually is an automatic reaction. At the conclusion of Metacognition class, Grade 7 students practice mindfulness. It is a nice way for the students to pause and take some time before moving to their next class. Research indicates that mindfulness can help children improve their abilities to pay attention, to calm down when they are upset, and to make better decisions. Mindfulness can also help with emotional regulation and cognitive focus.
I recently read an article that outlined "Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Kids." You can read the full article by clicking here.
Here are Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Kids:
1. Keep it simple --- Have your child notice their thoughts, what their body feels like, what their ears are hearing, and what is happening around them at the present moment.
2. Listen to the bell --- Use a chime, a bell, or a phone app and have your child pay attention to what they hear.
3. Create a mindful bedtime routine.
4. Practice with a breathing buddy --- Use a stuffed animal and have your child lay on their back and place the stuffed animal on their belly. Let your child focus on the rise and fall of the animal with each breath.
5. Make walks mindful --- Take a "Noticing Walk" with your child and notice your surroundings. Pick out a few things you and your child have never seen before.
6. Establish gratitude practice --- Each night at dinner, share one thing you and your child are thankful for that day.
7. Spider Man Meditation --- Activate your "Spidey Senses" and have your child focus on what they can see, smell, taste, and hear in the present moment.
8. Meditate with your child/children --- Create your own routine and let your child see you practicing meditation.
9. Check your personal "weather report" --- Have your child describe their feelings at the present moment. As an example: are they feeling sunny (happy), rainy (sad), or stormy (angry)? Help them express to you their feelings.
10. Practice mindfulness eating --- Practice slowing down and paying attention to and savoring the food you and your child are eating.
It is important for children to be presented with tools to practice mindfulness in a variety of situations and not just in times of trouble. Remember, keep it simple and keep it fun!