Finding a Mindful Routine for Children
If you’re a parent and have experienced the benefits of integrating mindfulness into your daily routine, you might want to think about how to share this gift with your kids. Whether you meditate or simply take a few moments each day to focus on the thoughts and feelings that surround you, you know how soothing it can be to concentrate on the here and now. Children respond in the same positive way as adults to mindful activities, and they’re an important part of teaching about feelings, impulse control, and gratitude.
The whole concept of mindfulness can be difficult for young children to grasp. Mindfulness may best be explained as a special way of paying attention. Your child needs to understand that there are no rules and no right answers. It’s just a way of having some quiet time to notice what our senses are doing – what we can hear, smell, taste, feel and observe around us.
Mindful Exercises for Kids
Making Mindfulness Part of Daily Life
Once your child is accustomed to mindfulness, they’ll start to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings. Studies have shown impressive results where children who practice mindfulness were more compassionate, less aggressive, and better able to control their behavior. Your kids are still going to complain, argue and race around the house, but talking to them about inappropriate behavior should become much easier.
Parents who put their kids in a “time-out” rarely expect that they’ll do much more than calm down. Telling them to “think about it” isn’t particularly helpful when most children haven’t practiced analyzing their feelings or paying attention to what’s going on in the moment. A child sitting alone to think about not wanting to share is more likely to stew about past injustices than focus on how their behavior just made someone else feel.
A child who is becoming more mindfully aware stands a much better chance of learning from a ten-minute time-out. Asking them to meditate on what just happened is a meaningful request and doesn’t constitute punishment if it’s something they do as part of their daily routine. Trading punishment for mindfulness also develops critical life skills for adulthood. Mom or dad won’t always be there to monitor good behavior, and you’re never too young to learn how to listen inwardly.
Not all children are receptive to mindful activities, but if they are part of your daily routine, they will inevitably become part of theirs. Start slow, lead by example, and try something new every day. You may find the results truly astounding.
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