5 Tips to help teach your children mindfulness

In this day and age it is hard to escape the technology, let alone the toys, games and stimulation that our children are so accustomed to. If it’s not the Internet, it’s the iPad, if it’s not the iPad it’s the endless supply of toys. Teaching your children mindfulness is now harder than ever, but with a little bit of persistence it can be done.

Teaching your children mindfulness helps them to develop awareness around their feelings and their external environment. After years of going through the paces of life half asleep, becoming stressed out every time something went wrong I decided to actively practice mindfulness. I took up meditation, looked into crystal healing and learnt how to perform breath work amongst a handful of other things. For me it wasn’t just about learning to be present, it was also about making sure I was actively engaged in every moment. If there is one skill I could pass on to my children at an early age it would be the art of being mindful.

Before you begin to panic, this doesn’t mean you have to pack away the toys, remove the TV, send the iPad back to Apple and move to the Forrest. It just means you need to incorporate a few simple measures into your daily life. The easiest way to do this is to lead by example, you are your children’s greatest role model and if they see you doing something they are likely to want to try it as well.

There are hundreds of ways you could incorporate mindfulness techniques into your children’s lives, but here are 5 quick tips you can start practicing straight away:

1: Teach your children to ‘belly breathe’ – Lie on your back with them beside you and show them how to breathe into their belly, watching your belly’s rise and fall slowly with each breath. For slightly older children you can encourage them to breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts and breathe out for 4 counts and go through this cycle with them 4 times.

2: Explore nature and encourage curiosity – Stop to observe the shapes of the leaves on the plants, smell the flowers and ask your children to expand on what they observe. Ask questions about how they ‘feel’ in a particular environment.

3: Use sound – My children LOVE Tibetan wishing bowls, listening to the smooth vibrations is both soothing and cleansing. There are also apps (That iPad comes in useful sometimes) with various sounds and chimes available. Simply getting your children to listen and observe the sounds as they begin and end.

4: Introduce your children to crystals – This can start with rocks in your garden. Children naturally gravitate towards crystals that are helpful for them. Most will marvel at the different colours and patterns that can be found naturally occurring in nature. The gentle energy of crystals can be perfect for grounding and relaxing children.

5: Teach them to meditate – I find guided meditation is the best for children, taking them through a relaxing scene and encouraging them to be aware of their body, slowly tensing and relaxing different areas of their bodies. Encourage children to picture themselves somewhere that makes them happy and get them to imagine what that happy place looks, smells and sounds like. The more senses you can encourage them to use the better.

Teaching children mindfulness is not a magic bullet in child behavior therapy, but it will certainly help to balance and nurture a Childs spirit. The five quick tips I mentioned can easily be built on and expanded. Feel free to share your own experiences and tips for teaching children mindfulness in the comments,

– Amber xx

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