With stress and anxiety at an all-time high, its no wonder that the practice of mindfulness has gained significant popularity in recent years. Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in a single moment, without judgment. It involves intentionally tuning in to a single feeling, experience, or moment without becoming overwhelmed by all that is happening around you and has been shown to significantly decrease feelings of overwhelm and stress among adults and kids.
Why Do Children Need Mindfulness?
Mindfulness activities for kids are among the most highly adaptable and beneficial skills for teaching kids to de-stress, relax, and regulate their emotions. Weaving play and imagination into traditional mindfulness practice is not only fun but gives your child skills to help manage anxiety and inform how they respond to stress. Kids who learn mindfulness show improved cognitive outcomes, lower reactivity, and better engagement in tasks.
Mindfulness can be practiced as an intentional, stand-alone exercise or woven into everyday moments of life. No matter the method, the benefits for mindfulness for children are vast, improving both mental and physical well-being. Research has found that mindfulness improves attention and focus, increases emotional regulation, decreases stress and anxiety, strengthens interpersonal relationships, and enhances compassion for self and others. What's more, mindfulness practice helps your child cope with difficult emotions by providing the tools to respond with intention.
Use Your Senses
- Taste: Give your child a bite of food. Tell them to place all their focus on tasting each unique flavor.
- Feel: Tell your child to take a deep breath in. Say, "Feel the sensation of a single breath go in through your nostrils and fill your lungs with air."
- Smell: Give your child something pleasant to smell, such as your shampoo or a flower. Have them take a deep sniff through their nose and encourage them to focus only on the smell.
- Hear: Ring a bell or tap a glass. Ask your child to focus on the single sound of the "ding."
- See: Too much to look at can be overwhelming, so direct your child to look at something simple, like the tabletop. Have them list all the colors, shapes, and other observations they have about the surface, focusing only on what they can see.
The mindful family app, Wondergrade, helps bring these tools to life for kids. In the Wondergrade app, kids can follow along with Yog, their lovable calm-down buddy, and follow simple and fun prompts that lead them through a short mindful practice.