What can mindfulness do for your children?
- Enhance focus
- Help them realise they are in charge of their own thoughts and feelings
- Lower anxiety, stress and depression
- Lower aggression
What can mindfulness do for you?
Exactly the same as above
We are seeing increasing rates of anxiety, depression and cognitive disorders. Levels in children and teens are increasing.
If our children were equipped with tools to help themselves, we would see less of what we are seeing now. As someone who has been there, I can tell you first hand the difference it makes.
Teach your child the skills they need to help themselves and they will thank you for it. I’m a strong believer in using tools like mindfulness to help equip ourselves before the going gets tough and during such times.
To teach your children you really need to practice mindfulness yourself but do it with ease and patience. Be kind and patient with yourself and your children – don’t force it.
If you teach your children from the moment they enter this world and continue this through their lives, you are giving them tools they will use for life. If you teach yourself you will gain the same, plus your children will most likely learn by example too.
The more you bring mindfulness into your lives, the more equipped you and your children will be to use it when things get challenging.
Mindfulness can only really be taught properly if the practice is something you are living and breathing yourself. So take this as an opportunity to make it work for you, then it’ll be easier to make it work for your children.
With these 6 tips, you can begin your journey and your children’s journey together.
Let’s dig in.
6 easy life-changing ways to bring Mindfulness into your Children’s lives
If I said to you that just a few minutes of meditation every day can change your life and your children’s lives profoundly – would it be worth it?
But where will I find the time I hear you say?
Oh hello self limiting thought, I see you there 🙂
Okay, look, I hear you. I really do….but I’m not going to sugar coat this….
If you have time for Netflix, Instagram, Twitter, lurking on your social media of choice and whatever else mind numbing stuff we do to fill our gaps of time…then you have time for mindfulness and meditation.
Adding 5 or 10 minutes to your kids bedtime to occasionally do a meditation with them will do you both good in the long run. They are going to bed 5 or 10 mins later. You are teaching them a skill for life.
To be honest, I don’t meditate every day for hours. But I do meditate and most days I do 15-20 mins or thereabouts. Some days it’s 10, some 20. With my little one, at bedtime sometimes I’ll do 5 mins of meditation after story time. I really like Relax kids – The Wishing Star and Sitting Still Like a Frog…..or you can find soundbites for children on YouTube too. Just search for meditation for children.
2. Put aside regular down time to engage and connect
Another easy way to be more mindful with your children is to have one evening or one afternoon every week with no devices. Just to engage with your child… read, learn, play games. Maybe choose a game you’ll both like if you can. Play, draw, create, make, bake, whatever, but get stuck in – be with them. Put your phone in another room so you don’t feel tempted to check it… just be there – with them. It’s surprising how easy it is to find ways around this, but if you do this already then you will know the benefits. To be honest, to give your children all of you when you are with them is all they really want deep down. And when you play, just play, when you draw, just draw. Be there, and only there – when you do this, you’ll find enjoyment in those moments and you won’t even have to try.
When you enjoy moments with your child, they will love it – plus they’ll remember these moments with you. Make it fun – this is about you both having fun.
This is a gift that keeps giving because if they love it and you do too, you’ll both want to do more of it.
3. Pause for a moment and tune into your surroundings
Take a second to stop and listen, smell, feel, touch, taste even. Wherever you are but just tune in for a moment and take in what you hear, see, smell. You can label the sounds and things you see if you like but you don’t have to. It’s more about just being aware. Awareness is what this one is all about.
4. Breathe together
Try practising how to focus on breathing in and out together for a couple of minutes. Lay down comfortably side by side and say ‘in’ and ‘out’ with each breath. For younger children, place a stuffed toy on their tummy and get them to watch the rise and fall of the toy. They’ll find it fun and it’s an easier way for them to focus.
5. Establish a gratitude practice
I love the idea of having a gratitude practice so if you can do this one then great. Many people have a practice where at dinner time they say one thing they are grateful for that day. Others will write 3-5 things down in a journal/notebook at night. You could after a short mediation just think of 3 things each that you’re grateful for that day. It’s a fact that establishing a gratitude practice does help you to appreciate and be thankful on a much deeper level than just saying or feeling thankful in that moment.
I don’t have a formal gratitude practice in the evening. After my meditation (in the morning) I will try to think of 2 or 3 specific things I’m grateful for – usually from the previous day. With my little one (and big one), I will sometimes ask them what they are feeling grateful for in that moment. It could be whilst you’re in the car, at bedtime – anytime.
6. Try making your walks mindful
One last easy way to bring Mindfulness into your children’s lives is to make your walks more sensory. So this is about walking, noticing, hearing and seeing. You could go on a nature walk and feel the sensation of how it feels to walk on the ground. Look at the light and how it comes through the trees, or the animals, birds and insects you see. Look at the leaves or flowers. What colours do you see? Do you notice any sounds, if so, what are they?
These are just some ways that you really can change yours and your children’s lives using mindfulness tools to help.
A few final tips…
- Children are naturally more mindful and more present. Sometimes your children will teach you about mindfulness. Tune into this when you see it and notice your response. Learn from your kids – yes kids are great teachers without even realising it.
- Sometimes it can help to use a a helpful reminder like every time you look at your phone, or every time to sit down, or wearing a wristband and every time you look at it, it reminds you to bring your attention back to the present moment.
- If you introduce mindfulness into your life and your kids lives, then this is the first step towards releasing stresses and, allowing more of the ‘good’ things into your life like increased awareness and clarity, a sense of calm, less anxiety, enhanced and deeper connections, and most important a healthier mind.
- Meditation and Mindfulness really can improve mental health dramatically. By focusing more on the now you become much more aware and conscious. At the very least you’ll feel more awake and aware, less reactive.
With love and mindfulness,
I hope these 6 tips on bringing Mindfulness into your life are helpful to you. Please share this post with anyone who would also appreciate them too
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Samantha is an award winning London Newborn, Baby and Natural Authentic Family Photographer.