As parents, we want to empower our children with strong self-esteem and confidence to best navigate their way into adulthood.
The practice of mindfulness is a powerful and simple way to equip them with lifelong tools.
Mindfulness is the practice of tuning in to your emotions, as well as engaging in activity and your surroundings without distraction. Children are already naturals at losing themselves in the moment, especially when playing, but the prevalence of electronic devices is working against their ability to maintain this skill.
Mindfulness has been shown to improve children's concentration, help them better regulate emotions, and calm down easier when overwhelmed. However, it is not a magic solution for behavioural issues - just a tool to help your child gradually become more aware of how they are feeling and what to do when they are upset.
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as choosing an activity and doing it together without distraction.
The first step to teaching your children about mindfulness is working on your own skills. Several recent studies have demonstrated that parents who practice being mindful around their children contribute to improving their child’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem.
Mindfulness can also assist parents to stay present and engage fully with their children. Remember you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Try these three simple techniques.
- Keep it simple to start with and just sit together for three deep breaths. Be sure to sit somewhere without the distraction of devices - outside is best - and make a practice of teaching your child to be present for three slow deep breaths.
- When your child is comfortable with the deep breath practice, introduce a candle to focus on. Light the candle and sit looking only at the small flame for 1 to 3 minutes. This is a lovely mindfulness activity to do before bed as it helps the mind calm and settle.
- This practice is best for older children (5 and older) and introduces visualisation. Let your child lie down comfortably and place a small crystal in their hand or on their chest. Have them close their eyes and think of the colour of the crystal and how it makes them feel. You can also introduce visualisation in the form of coloured rain falling gently on them as they focus on their deep breaths.
For more information about Mindfulness for Children, you can check out the Peaceful Kids website for meditations and activities.