“The present moment holds infinite riches beyond your wildest dreams.” ~ Jean-Pierre de Caussade (French priest)
Life is busy. Deciding what activities, events, and lessons your child needs to ensure he grows up healthy, happy, and well-adjusted is something no mom ever feels like she completely masters.
Among your many choices, one you should give some focus to is teaching your child about mindfulness. It doesn’t take much time and it will benefit you too.
Start on mindfulness as early as you can, before your child is old enough to declare it “boring.” No worries if you’re too late for this, we’re going to talk about some fun ways to engage him despite any initial resistance.
Out of all the things you could choose to introduce your child to, why should mindfulness be at the top of your list?
The benefits of mindfulness are so numerous that we could spend all day talking about them. Since practicing mindfulness will serve both you and your child much better, we’ll just hit the highlights and get on with the practice.
According to the experts that conduct all the sophisticated studies, children who engage in mindfulness are better able to focus and pay attention, even those who suffer from diagnoses such as ADHD.
The mindful child is also happier with herself and her social environment, able to handle teasing from other kids more effectively, displays better judgment, is more empathetic, less stressed, and may even perform better in school.
And the bonus of mindfulness is that it’s a gift that will serve you well all through your adult life too.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simple. It’s any practice that helps you focus on the present moment in an accepting and non-judgmental way.
So You Want My Kid to Meditate?
Meditation often jumps to the front of mom’s mind when we think about practicing mindfulness. While some kids are born meditators, many will reject it as “weird” and “boring.”
Don’t let this depress you if you’re a meditator, they may come around!
The good news is, mindfulness does not have to involve any activity that is officially labeled meditation.
So what types of mindfulness might actually interest your child?
Here are a few ideas that have proven popular among kids.
A finger labyrinths is a small version of the walking labyrinth in the above picture. Walking labyrinths are excellent for mindfulness, and you just might find one if you have a botanical gardens in your city.
Absent the “real thing,” or in addition to it, the finger labyrinth can be as simple as a picture of a labyrinth that you’ve download and printed following a Google search.
Many kids like sand labyrinths because the feeling of the sand is relaxing and a nice sensory boost.
Whether it’s sand or just paper, have your child take a finger from her non-dominate hand and trace through the labyrinth. There is no right way to go, just encourage your child to trace different paths.
Using a labyrinth that is pleasing to her eyes will help get her interested in the activity at first.
Try this when she’s bored, stressed, or even angry, and the immediate benefits will help her develop a fondness for the activity.
Have your child breathe in for four counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, and rest for 4 counts. Have him use a finger from one hand to draw a box on his other hand, constructing one side for each 4 count.
This is a great exercise for the brain, and your child will learn to like it because (although he may not consciously realize it) it has the effect of sending happy gas to his brain!
Annaka Harris Activities
Annaka Harris specializes in mindfulness for children. Head to her website here and try out some of the short hearing, breathing, seeing, and visualizing exercises she has for children.
The site contains audios for your child to listen to and follow along with her, which makes it much more engaging than asking them to read something on their own.
This is a tricky one, because the main reason our children need mindfulness is likely the invasion of TV, video games, cell phones and iPads into their lives.
Ideally, your child’s mindfulness practice should be screen-free. But, if he’s willing to give meditation a go, here are three quality apps that only require looking at the screen to turn the music on.
Smiling Mind: The product of an Australian company that’s aiming to have mindfulness meditation as part of the school curriculum, this free app provides a good variety of 5-10 minute sessions for ages 7 through adult. (iOS only)
Calm: This is a great app for adults because it has a large selection of free meditations of all kinds, guided and unguided. For your child, you’ll want to check out the Calm Kids section, where you’ll find calming techniques and sleep stories for your child. There is paid content available, but it’s not necessary at all.
Mindfulness for Children: Nice relaxing guided meditations for kids that include breathing and visualization exercises. There is an upgrade available that unlocks some nice additional content, but the free content is worthy for kids who prefer an interactive meditation. (Android download here)
Remember to Have Fun
Don’t give your child a lot of guidance here unless she wants it. There’s no right way to learn mindfulness.
Offer your child different choices for learning mindfulness and stick with what appeals to her. Remember, if you try to force it on her, it will end up creating more stress and anxiety, the opposite of what you’re aiming for!
Whatever mindfulness practice your child goes with, you’ll want to have it on hand before her birthday party starts if you book with KidsPartyCharacters.com. With over 200 characters to choose from, she’ll have no trouble finding her favorite to invite as her special party guest.
Admittedly, not even some mindfulness practice will be able to calm her excitement and anticipation when her character arrives with cotton candy, balloon art, and face painting. Find the right party package for your child at KidsPartyCharacters.com and start planning her party today.
Prepare to sit back and enjoy all the crazy excitement while KidsPartyCharacters.com takes care of all the entertainment and details.
Looking for ideas? Connect with us on Facebook for examples of how KidsPartyCharacters.com can bring your child’s party to life.