We’re a little over 2 weeks into 2017. How are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? Many people are promising to be more mindful this year. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and connecting to one’s emotions without judgement. The benefits of actively practicing mindfulness include:
- reduced stress & anxiety levels.
- improved focus.
- better sleeping habits.
- manage stress.
- increased ability to regulate emotions (Lord knows kids & teens need this just as much as us!..lol.)
- develop a positive outlook.
In today’s society of instant gratification through technology and social media, mindfulness is as essential to kids as healthy eating and education. My husband and I have committed to being more mindful and teaching our children to do the same. Here are 3 mindfulness activities you can teach your children to set a foundation for them to thrive academically and in all aspects of life.
Take a Brain Break
I can vividly remember my kindergarten teacher taking us outside to learn about the types of clouds. After our lesson she had us lay on our blankets and look at the sky and tell her what images we saw in the clouds. I didn’t realize then but my teacher was incorporating a mindfulness activity into our science lesson. She was giving us a “brain break”. This brain break was allowing us to decompress and quiet our minds. It’s an effective tool in helping children (and adults) to process what we just learned. Brain break activities can be done during homework time, stressful situations or while transitioning from one activity to the next. Side note: To this day I can name each type of cloud (cirrus, cumulus, stratus) and vividly describe each of them.
Take a Listening Walk
Leave the cellphones (o.k, take 1 with you but leave it in your pocket) & head outside for a listening walk! Much like a nature walk, listening walks teach kids to rely on their senses and take in their surroundings. I love doing listening walks with my preschooler. He loves pointing out the animals he sees and hears or random street signs and cars. Most of the time I don’t even need to prompt him! Try asking your kids about the sounds they hear and what the sounds remind them of such as happy memories or experiences. They’ll have less room for negative thoughts and more room for the memories you are creating together.
In today’s age we are so used to being on the go with everything. We rarely take the time to enjoy our lunch, let alone life..lol. We tend to rush eating in order to move on to the next thing off our to do list. Mindful tasting stresses the importance of being present and in the moment while eating. It encourages us to enjoy every morsel of food on our plate. Ask your kids to describe how their food tastes. Get specific on textures, colors and shapes. You can ask older kids about the different seasonings they may taste. Try encouraging your kids (all ages) to describe a happy memory or experience they associate their meal or dessert. Research has shown that watching television while eating causes us to eat more rather than being present in the moment and enjoying our meal. Our brains miss that signal that we’re satisfied because we’re too distracted.
As parents, the best thing we can do is lead by example. We can practice all of the activities mentioned and experience the same benefits of mindfulness as well. Try encouraging your children to practice mindfulness a few minutes each day in order to get a routine going. Children crave consistency, especially in their younger years. Practicing just one of these activities daily can have a positive impact on your kids and entire family. Through mindfulness, our children are learning that the key to experiencing life to its fullest potential is living in the moment. Do you and your children practice mindfulness? Have you noticed any benefits since practicing daily?
Healthy Hair To Toe <3