These 8 activities will help relax and focus your child.
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully engaged in the here and now. Of letting everything else go. Of not thinking about the past or worrying about the future.
This can be very easy for some children. In fact, being completely in the moment is natural for most children, but not all. Some are more anxious than others and carry more and bigger worries. Both of my children struggle with mindfulness and being present. They are busy in their minds and bodies.
Here are 8 ways I have found to fit mindful moments into our busy day. Most of these activities take less than two minutes.
1. Get into the beat. A beat is something that really connects mind and spirit. You don’t need a drum set, just tap your hands on a table, or use a wooden spoon on a bucket. Now tap out a simple rhythm and ask your child to repeat it. Slowly make your rhythms more complicated, but keep it fun!
2. Conduct a blindfold challenge! This is something my boys love to do and works on days when they have ants in their pants. I ask them to put on blindfolds and then hand them various items from around the house to identify. Sometimes, we turn it into a taste test challenge with items from the cupboards or fridge. This exercise helps them get in touch with their other senses.
3. Watch clouds. Getting out into nature is an excellent way to become more mindful. Head out on a day when the sky is filled with fluffy clouds. Study the sky and encourage your kids to talk about the shapes they see.
4. Press fingertips together. Ask your child to breathe in as she matches thumb to thumb, index finger to index finger, etc., then blow out the breath and shake out her hands. Repeat two or three times.
5. Play with “lava” toys or mind games. Items like wonder tubes and liquid motion bubblers/mazes are perfect for younger kids. For older kids, try a Newton’s Cradle or Rubik’s Cube. These toys fascinate, promote a deep sense of peace, and stimulate creativity.
6. Practise deep breathing. Have your child lay flat on his back. Place a stuffie on his tummy and ask him to breathe in deeply and watch the stuffie rise up, then breathe out and watch the stuffie go back down. Repeat for a few breaths.
7. Walk the dog, spend some time with farm animals, or ride a horse. Working with animals can really help your child learn to focus and be in the moment. She also learns how to interpret an animal’s body language and communicate without words. Proper adult supervision is important.
8. Give a hug. So simple, yet so profoundly beneficial. A nice long hug or cuddle releases all sorts of wonderful reactions in the body. While hugging or cuddling with your child be very intentional with your breaths. In – pause – out. Then feel the weight of your child as he settles into the hug and perhaps even copies your breaths. Enjoy this moment. It passes far too quickly.
Within a week of starting to incorporate these mindful activities into our days, I noticed big changes in my little dragons’ intensity. They now ask to do them. That’s because being calm, at peace, and in the moment feels good!