Childhood Mindfulness is a great way for children to learn to pay attention, avoid distractions, balance their emotions, understand their feelings and feel more confident. The benefits of this relaxation technique based on mindfulness are indisputable, so much so that there are even Mindfulness exercises for anxiety.
Introducing this practice into the routine of the little ones requires time, practice and patience, and it is possible for each child to respond differently. However, the truth is that it is an easy technique to perform and the benefits are great.
What is mindfulness
If you are a person experienced in Mindfulness exercises you will know that this practice is formed by a set of exercises that pursue the objective of focusing attention on the present. It helps to be aware of our own inner “I” and to be able to channel negative emotions, in addition to better understanding the feelings and thoughts that go all day in our head. With these relaxation techniques we get to enjoy the little things of everyday life, to recognize what happens at the moment it happens. And you may wonder, does a 4 or 10 year old really need to acquire all these skills? Find out at the next point.
Benefits of Mindfulness for children
Since childhood they have taught us that sport is an excellent way to instill a series of values, since rules must be followed and requires effort, dedication and communication with people, as well as respect for them. Playing football, basketball, practicing karate or ballet provides the child with physical and psychological benefits, but sometimes leaves other emotional dimensions aside. Therefore, it is interesting that you know what the benefits of Mindfulness exercises are for children:
- It improves attention and concentration.
- It benefits creativity and learning.
- It allows to control and understand emotions.
- It helps to relax and be calm.
- Develop skills such as patience.
- It helps you sleep better.
How about? Do you dare to try it with the kids? In the next section we explain everything you need to know before starting Mindfulness exercises for children.
Tips for Mindfulness exercises for children
Can any child do Mindfulness?
It is recommended that this technique be performed by children from 5 years of age. Each of these exercises can focus on controlling a specific discipline, however, everyone tries to improve attention and concentration.
When is the best time for a child to realize Mindfulness?
Usually, children start their journey soon and end towards the afternoon. They may have homework or extracurricular classes, so avoid proposing to do the exercises when you are tired or tend to be more irritable. You are the one who knows best the character of your child or students, so you must find the moment in which they respond best to these types of activities.
How to explain to a child what Mindfulness is
Mindfulness for children is like a paradox. Why? Deep down they are experts in living the moment. They are able to enjoy anywhere without thinking about worries. Instead, adults are likely to easily fall into negative thoughts or worries while we are not distracted. You must convey to the child the need that moments of joy and enjoyment are not only related to activities that require physical energy: running, playing with the ball, etc. You can also enjoy leisurely activities. Later, with the exercises that we will recommend, it will be much easier for you to understand.
First steps to introduce a child to Mindfulness
These first Mindfulness exercises for children are designed for the first contact of the kids with this practice.
A new discovery
Tell the child that you are going to play a game in which you will discover an object never seen before. Try to be both seated or, in the case of being a group, that you are all sitting. Remove any everyday objects, such as a piece of fruit or food that does not stain. Now you must try to think of several characteristics of the “new discovery” using the 5 senses: its weight, touch, smell, shape, if it produces any sound, etc. With this little Mindfulness exercise for children we will get you to become familiar with the essence of this practice.
Pass the balloon
This exercise is key for the child to understand what Mindfulness is or, at least, to get the idea that it doesn’t have to be boring. It consists of passing a balloon from one to the other as quickly as possible. After a minute, we will prove otherwise. We ask you to pass the globe very slowly from your hands to ours. Then we asked them to describe all the details of the globe that they could not see when they had passed it so fast (it is advisable to paint pictures or words on the balloons). Once finished, we must try to make the reflection that they have a great time quickly, but slowly you can see things that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Mindfulness Exercises 1: What is sounding
In this first Mindfulness exercise for children we will focus on the sense of hearing. For this we only need to get different objects that produce different sounds. Then, we indicate that you close your eyes and produce sound with one of the objectives. Next, the child must guess which one has emitted that sound. Easy and fun!
Another exercise easy to perform and similar to the previous one consists of filling glasses with different levels of water. Sound each of them individually, waiting for the previous one to stop sounding to start with the next one. Ask him to tell you when he stops listening to the sound. This exercise is great for working concentration in an entertaining way.
Mindfulness 2 Exercises: Visual Memory
If in the previous one we stimulated the ear, in this Mindfulness exercise for children we work the visual memory through two games.
In the first, we take several colorful objects and show them for half a minute to remember them. Next we ask you to close your eyes and remove one of the objects. The child must indicate what the object that is no longer with others is. In this way we stimulate observation and memory.
In the second exercise we will try to remember a landscape that we have seen and that we find pleasant: a park, a beach, or any other place. You should close your eyes and try to place yourself in that same place to remember as accurately as possible that precise place. We can even tell you that when you move your mind there try to touch the objects that are: trees, rocks, water, etc. This exercise is excellent for working imagination and memory.
Mindfulness 3 Exercises: Absolute Silence
On this occasion we ask the child or children if they are able to remain silent for a whole minute or sixty seconds. To better understand this exercise it is very useful to use an analogy, such as trees or mountains that are always still. Start the countdown and ensure that children keep their eyes closed and remain silent.
Now we are going to do another Mindfulness exercise for children but focusing all the attention on an object. The child must remain silent, and the goal is to contemplate an object with his eyes open looking at the smallest details. After a minute we ask if you have been able to detect any type of change in the object: color, light, shape, etc. It is advisable to use objects that have slight changes visible to the eye: a lava lamp, a candle, an hourglass, etc.
Mindfulness 4 exercises: The sense of taste
This exercise sure you love. We must take a piece of chocolate or any other food that melts in the mouth. The goal is to be able to feel the flavor it gives off while it is melting and to be able to describe it as if you were telling someone who had never tasted such food before. You must first look carefully at the food and then let it melt. While the food is dissolving we can tell you to place it in different parts of the mouth to see if the taste is more or less strong.
Mindfulness Exercise 5: Self-Esteem
Finally, one of the easy-to-perform Mindfulness exercises for children that will boost their self-esteem. We must invent a gesture or a set of movements, such as clasping the hands above the head and lowering them to the navel. In turn, we create a positive phrase that conveys good feelings: Today is going to be a great day, how good I feel helping others, I feel good about myself, I feel happy and happy, etc. Once both parties have been scheduled, they must be done at the same time, as a greeting. Over time, this could be the Mindfulness exercise to start and end the sessions.