A Parent’s Guide to Mindfulness for Kids

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Although more and more people are developing mindfulness and implementing it into their lives, it may seem difficult for many to try to convey the importance of mindfulness to their children. But children can receive benefits from having a mindfulness practice early on in their lives. It can help them to navigate the process of growing up with more ease and peace of mind and help them develop into mindful, intentional adults who genuinely love every minute of life.

If you have children and want to teach them the benefits of mindfulness, it can be difficult to know where to start. It may seem like too complicated a subject to explain to kids, but really mindfulness is a simple practice that anyone at any age can adopt. These are some easy steps to help you use mindfulness for kids.

Keep It Simple

Kids have a huge capacity for learning, but generally the more complicated things get, the more difficult it will be for them to understand. That’s why it’s important to keep things simple when explaining mindfulness to kids. Mindfulness can seem like a big word and can feel intimidating, especially younger children.

When explaining mindfulness for kids, use simple language and easy-to-understand concepts. By telling your kids that mindfulness is about being in the current moment and experiencing every moment fully, they can get a clear picture of what you mean. Also, try to explain it in a way that they can relate too. Put it into context of their daily lives by relating it to their school or how they play with other kids.

Don’t over complicate things and don’t expect them to grasp the concept fully at first. They may get the idea right from the start, but it’s ok if they don’t. Keep explaining it to them in ways they understand and encourage them to do simple things to become more mindful.

Don’t Force It

Like with many things, trying to force it to happen will likely have the opposite effect of what you want. So don’t try to push mindfulness too much on your kids. It should be something that they want to do and that excites them. If you are constantly trying to force them to be more mindful, it will not have any positive effects.

Give your kids gentle reminders to be mindful or to set up a mindful practice, whatever age they are. You can make it a daily routine for them, but don’t insist that it is something they must do. Rather, encourage them that doing things mindfully will make them happier and help them enjoy life more. You can even use small things as bribery for mindfulness, such as time playing outside or an extra hour before bedtime. But don’t expect them to become mindfulness machines over night.

Also, don’t expect mindfulness to cure all of your child’s problems. Although it can certainly help them with anxiety or stress that they are feeling, it is a big task to expect a kid to use mindfulness to instantly become calmer, get rid of tantrums, or other things like that. Have realistic expectations of what mindfulness can do for your kids and realize that it is a gradual process.

There’s No Right Or Wrong Way

One great thing about mindfulness for kids is that there is no right or wrong way for them to do it. Any kid can practice mindfulness and they don’t have to worry about being good or bad at it. It’s something that anyone can excel at.

This is one of the benefits of mindfulness, because it puts all kids on the same level. Although different children may get more out of it than others; they can all practice simple mindfulness techniques with much success.

With the right implementation, mindfulness can be a fun and exciting game for kids. You can make it a time for them to have fun, be creative and express themselves. That’s why it’s important to stress to your kids that there is no one way to do mindfulness. Any mindfulness practice is a good one.

Have Them Join Your Practice

If you currently have a daily mindfulness practice, why not invite your kids to join you. If you take a few minutes throughout the day to recognize your surroundings, listen to the subtle noises you hear or practice eating mindfully you can encourage your children to do the same thing. Chances are they may have already noticed you doing it and want to do it too.

When you make mindfulness a daily habit for yourself, your kids can pick up on that and they will likely want to join in. Pick a mindfulness technique that you want to practice with your kids and then plan it into your daily routine.

For example, every night before bedtime you can practice mindfulness with your kids by asking them one thing that they’re grateful for that day. Or at lunchtime, go for a walk outside with them and have them actively listen to all the sounds that they hear. And see how many new ones they can find. These are simple practices that will make your kids more aware on a daily basis.

Mindfulness opens up our minds to a whole new world around us. One that was always there, but we never paid attention to. And for kids this can have a huge impact. They can get more in touch with who they are, how they interact with the world and with others. This can have so many positive effects on them as they experience new things in the world and navigate their lives. Start to implement even small mindfulness practices with your kids every day and see what difference it can make.

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Melanie Kernodle is a freelance blogger and writer. After a few lackluster years in the corporate world, she recently ditched her “normal” job to pursue her entrepreneurial passions, travel the world and share her insights with her readers.