Any other moms out there wonder if your kids are actually listening to you? Or paying attention to the task at hand or the moment you're experiencing? I don't know about you...but sometimes I feel like I'm talking to a wall!
Through my parenting journey, one area that I think is missing in children’s lives is mindfulness. With the onslaught of fidget spinners, iPads, videos, and social media, it’s hard for kids to stay in the moment!
What does mindfulness mean? It means paying attention to what is presently occurring.
What can it teach kids? It can teach them awareness, and how to pay attention on purpose!
Benefits of mindfulness for kids:
- It’s shown to help with self-esteem
- To manage stress from a young age
- Gives them the “Executive Function” trifecta skill set: paying attention/retaining information, multi-tasking, and learning how to behave appropriately with others
My kids just got done with spring break, and all I can think about is that there are only have a few short months before summer. What will I do with them all day? After reading a post at Mindful about mindfulness for kids, it got me thinking and I came up with a few activities.
Theo and Annie are not quite the meditative types, but they do love to play make-believe and use their imagination. One way to incorporate this type of mediation is to have them sit “criss-cross applesauce” and put their hand over the heart and close their eyes.
Next, ask them to think about someone that makes their heart feel really big, or beat a lot faster. Ask how they feel when they imagine that person coming to see them, or sitting next to them? Ask what would make that person smile? What is a wish you could dream up for them at this moment that would make their heart feel as big as yours when you think of them?
Now, pick another person! Do this exercise two or three times, then for the last round, have them think of a person that frustrates them, or makes their heart sink down to their toes. How do they feel right now? Explain to them that by doing good things for others, we can help them get rid of that “icky” feeling. What is a wish they can dream up to help that other person smile? How does creating that wish help YOU feel now?
These are great questions to help a child tap into how feelings and thoughts can affect their physical body and mental well-being.
A great way to record these thoughts for your kids would be to write them down on a locally sourced notebook like those found at The Anastasia Co. or The Cold Hearted Co. Then each week you can look back at those good wishes and come up with new people and new wishes to bless them by.
Now, how about a mindfulness activity regarding "noticing"? Everyone loves a bite of something sweet!
Grab your favorite chocolate bars from The Chocolate Season. Maybe pick one that is fruity, or with a textural component like our Fruity Pebbles & Pop Rocks chocolate bar, or explore the Dark Chocolate Passionfruit chocolate bar! Then start asking "discovery questions" like:
What do they smell? How many colors do they see in the bar? What does it sound like when you break the bar? How does it feel on your tongue when it melts? Is there anything crunchy, chewy or creamy in the bar? What flavor excites you the most? What else do you notice?
You can also go for texture nuances by pointing out the differences between a bite of our creamy fudge vs taking a chunk out of our crunchy toffee. Start by asking the kids what they see, what they hear, what they taste, how it feels in their hand vs how it feels in their mouth.
These activities feel mindless, but in reality, by interacting with them as they interact with that item, you’re promoting a sense of “being in the moment” which in itself, is mindfulness. Have fun!
I hope these activities give you something to look forward to as we head into summer, and pat yourself on the back for taking a small break from the iPad… make sure to save a treat or two for yourself!