Mindfulness is an excellent practice to get into and starting your kids off young is a wise plan. But what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is staying in the moment, not getting sucked into the regret or despair of the past, and not jumping ahead into the anxious moments of the future. Mindfulness is just being in the now—like Now Cow in Kelly Caleb’s mindfulness books for children.
Sound complicated? It’s really not. Below are 8 mindfulness tips for kids that you can use whether you’re their parent, teacher, therapist, or another caregiver.
8 Tips to Help Kids Practice Mindfulness Successfully
Keep it positive. Never use mindfulness as a disciplinary measure. Keep the situations in which you practice mindfulness with kids positive.
Practice what you preach. If you’re teaching kids mindfulness, you should be practicing it yourself. You should definitely join in during mindfulness practice or meditation with the kids you are teaching, but you should also have your own mindfulness practice.
Make it routine. Just like any other habit you want children to develop, making mindfulness part of their daily routine—practicing at the same time and in the same place each day—will help them become more familiar with the practice until they are able to use mindfulness as a tool on their own.
Prepare the environment. Distractions abound in our kids’ daily lives. Do your best to counteract this by preparing a space for a mindfulness practice that is relatively free from distractions. Close doors or windows to potential outside noises. Use a quiet white noise machine if that helps. Move furniture out of the way so the kids have an unobstructed place to practice their mindfulness. Make the mindfulness environment the same each day.
Involve the kids. Have one kid alert the class or family each day when it is mindfulness practice time. Allow one or more kids to set up the space for mindfulness practice. If you do various types of mindfulness exercises, let kids choose once a week which exercise you will do. The more they can be part of the process, the more excited kids will be to practice mindfulness.
Share your experiences. Let the kids know how you use mindfulness every day. When they understand that you can get upset and actually use mindfulness practices to defuse the situation and calm your emotions, they’ll be able to make the connection between mindfulness exercises and practicing mindfulness in practical situations.
Have kids share their experiences. Whether they have an especially positive mindfulness experience or they get distracted, it can be helpful for kids to share their experiences. Also encourage them to share experiences where they successfully used mindfulness in “real life.”
Practice every day. To embed mindfulness as a habit in your kids’ lives, you must have them practice every day. This means encouraging them to practice on the weekends even if you don’t see them. They will be better able to slip into a mindful frame of mind if they practice each day.
Teaching Kids Mindfulness Every Day
In addition to practicing mindfulness each day, you can share books about mindfulness with them in a quiet, cozy environment. Kelly Caleb’s Now Cow books are exciting, read like a Dr. Seuss book, and teach kids mindfulness practices they can use any time of the day. Filled with real-life situations where mindfulness is an ideal solution, these books and others like them are a great way to encourage kids of all ages to make mindfulness a part of their lives.
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