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Mindfulness for Kids With ADHD

Mindfulness is a way of staying in the moment. When we are mindful, we are not sucked into the regret or despair of the past, nor are we jumping ahead into the anxious moments of the future. Mindfulness is not easy for most of us, and is especially difficult for kids who have ADHD. It is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced to be used well.

Children can also benefit from reading about mindfulness. That’s why Kelly Caleb has written her series of Now Cow mindfulness books. If you’re teaching your child with ADHD about mindfulness, pick one or more books up today to help them understand better.

Benefits of Mindfulness for Kids with ADHD

Boosts Working Memory Children with ADHD tend to have problems with working memory. This makes it difficult for them to follow instructions, remember to do or return their homework, etc. Research has shown that mindfulness helps improve working memory and that this capacity increases over time.

Improves Focus Problems with distractibility and concentration are common in kids with ADHD. Mindfulness teaches kids how to be present in the moment and focus on what is happening now instead of rushing ahead to what is next or focusing on the million things swirling through the child’s brain. As your child gets better at being in the present moment through mindfulness exercises, their focus and attention will also improve.

Increases Self Regulation Extreme reactions, or meltdowns, are common in children with ADHD. Mindfulness allows children to consciously choose the thoughts, sensations, and emotions they identify with rather than reacting immediately to every thought or emotion they have.

Daily Mindfulness Activities for Children with ADHD

It’s important to practice mindfulness at the same time each day with children who have ADHD. They need the structure of a regular practice. Here are a few activities that you can switch between before branching out to more advanced mindfulness activities.

Out-Loud Sense Noting Sit comfortably with your child and notice what’s around you by taking turns noticing with each sense. Start by saying, “I notice that I can hear…” and point out something you hear. Then give your child a sense to use to notice something. Switch back and forth until you have mentioned a taste, touch, sound, smell, sight, and thought. This is a quick exercise to do and has the benefit of encouraging your child to stop for a minute and notice what is around them right now, pushing other thoughts to the side for a minute.

The Mindful Jar This is also known as a sensory jar or calm down jar. Fill a jar with glitter and other little plastic bits. Create the jar with your child and when it’s time to practice mindfulness, have your child shake the jar as hard as they can for 2 seconds. Then encourage them to sit and watch as the glitter floats to the bottom.

As your child is watching the mesmerizing sight, explain that our thoughts and feelings are much like the glitter. When we’re upset or excited, they spin all over our minds. To calm down, we need to be still so our thoughts can settle down.

Flower and Candle Breathing This is a great way to break your child into the deep breathing exercises that are essential to mindfulness. You can use a visual aid if you want by printing a picture of a flower and a picture of lit birthday candles. Then have your child pretend to smell the flower by taking a deep breath in. Then have them count slowly to 3. Finally, have them blow the candles out by blowing a deep breath out, quickly and fully. Have them repeat this 5 times to start. Encourage them to improve each time you do the exercise—children with ADHD like a challenge.

Children with ADHD Can Be Mindful

As your child with ADHD is racing around the house or forgetting for the third time that they were headed to the bathroom to brush their teeth, you may feel like mindfulness is an impossible task for them. But it’s the exact opposite. It can work wonders along with other treatments prescribed by their physician or therapist. And don’t forget to help them settle down with entertaining and informative Now Cow books each day to learn a little more of what mindfulness is all about.

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