We know that mindfulness is a clinically proven tool that supports well being and mental health. And, we know that it provides a wealth of recuperative benefits to children ranging from improved focus to increased self-regulation to reduced stressed and more. Though, there's often still the question of How do I teach mindfulness to my child?
We put together this list of tips to help you on this journey.
1. Practice mindfulness on your own.
The more that you understand how mindfulness feels to you personally, the better you will be able to help your child become more mindful. They will also be more receptive to learning when they see you modeling what you are encouraging. A simple 15-20 minutes per day is enough to receive your own benefits.
2. Practice mindfulness with your child.
Guiding your child through your actions as well as your words will help them understand mindfulness for themselves. This practice time together is a wonderful opportunity to bond deeply. Set aside a simple 10-15 minutes per day for your shared mindfulness practice.
3. Explain mindfulness in an age-appropriate manner.
For a younger child, you may say something like, "Mindfulness is when we pay attention to what is happening right now." For an older child, you may say something like, "Mindfulness is being aware and noticing our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings in an open-minded way."
4. Keep the experience positive.
If either of you gets off track, which is bound to happen, don't allow it to tarnish the experience. Simply refocus back on the breath and the senses and/or encourage your child to do so. Our distraction only deepens when we give more thought to it. Pretend your thought is like a cloud and watch it float away.
5. Share how you feel.
As you are practicing mindfulness with your child, share what you are experiencing with your heightened awareness. We become incredibly clued into things we would have missed without being mindful. While pointing out your own awareness, your child may also notice the same within them.
6. Ask prompting questions.
While practicing mindfulness with your child, use your own experience to ask prompting questions. This is another way to allow your child to deepen their own sense of awareness. "Do you notice...?" "Can you feel...?"
7. Encourage your child to share how they feel.
It's amazing to watch a child be completely immersed in the present moment. That moment becomes your greatest gift because you are also completely conscious. Encourage your child to put what they are experiencing into words. This type of conversation allows the knowledge that comes from awareness to resonate long after.
The Prana Tribe's Children's Meditation Cards are an incredibly effective and fun way to teach your child mindfulness and meditation. You can find them by clicking the image of them below: