Feeling stressed out or overworked lately? Is your child having trouble dealing with their emotions? Do you ever feel like having a full body tantrum on the floor like your toddler? 

As human beings, it’s natural for our emotions to get the best of us some days. This is due to the large amounts of stress we deal with on a daily basis. For kids, stress can mean not getting their way. For adults, stress can mean overworking ourselves or worrying over details. As parents, we often lack control over our minds and bodies in the same ways our children do. That's where the concept of "mindfulness" can help.

When we say mindfulness, we mean being aware of moment-to-moment fluctuations in the stream of consciousness. However, a simple definition of mindfulness is being calm and aware in the present moment. Mindful activities require individuals to exercise control over their physical and mental states. These activities share a common goal of sharpening concentration or attention, building emotion regulation skills to effectively manage stress, and gaining self-knowledge. When practiced correctly, mindfulness can help both adults and children focus and manage their emotions.

So how can you practice mindfulness with children?

1. Breathing exercises. Practice breathing techniques by placing a small stuffed animal on a child’s chest while they are lying down. Tell them to rock the stuffed animal to sleep by breathing in and out.

2. Try some yoga! Though small children may not have the whole balance thing down just yet, try out some stretches and "yoga-esque" movements while listening to relaxing music.

3. Practice "body scanning" using props. You can explain the idea of body scanning to a child by having them stand inside a hula hoop, then telling them to focus on their bodies. Have them start by wiggling their toes, working their way up through the entire body. This trains the mind to focus and be more aware of what the body is feeling.

4. Mystery object game. Try holding a mystery object behind a child's back and have them describe the qualities of the object (is it rough, smooth, hard, or soft?).

Interested in learning more about mindfulness? Check out The Power of Mindfulness in the Classroom by Steven Bonnay, RECE.

Source: Hi Mama


Topics: Learning, children, play, behavior, music movement, development

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