Mindfulness is becoming an increasingly more popular meditation technique which essentially allows a person to ensure their thoughts remain present. In other words, rather than worrying about something that might not even happen, or dwelling on the past, a person practising mindfulness focusses on the here and now, including how they’re feeling, both physically and emotionally. As a result, mindfulness can reduce stress and help a person struggling with anxiety. With that said, it’s wise for parents to encourage their children to practise mindfulness. Here are some tips from a senior school in Somerset.
Drawing your thoughts back to the present moment is easier than it sounds and should therefore be reasonably straightforward to explore with your child. Essentially, you should encourage your child to think and talk about their experiences as they’re happening. For example, when you give them a hug, ask them how that hug is making them feel. As they’re eating a tasty treat, encourage them to think about the flavour and texture. Mindfulness can be practised with pretty much everything you do.
If your child is prone to temper tantrums, mindfulness might help. When you can see that they are becoming frustrated about something, encourage them to lie down somewhere comfortable, close their eyes and rest their hands on the chest and/or stomach. Then tell them to take slow, deep breaths, recognising how their stomach rises and falls as they do so. This should help calm them down. This exercise might also help them to fall asleep at night, so is something you could try at bedtime.
When your child is nervous or scared, ask them to think about the present moment and whether or not they are in any imminent danger. Ask them if the thing they are worried about will still be a problem in an hour, a week or a year. This should help draw them back to the safety and comfort of the present moment.
Mindful walks are also great. Next time you’re taking a stroll, take it in turns to share some of the things you can see, hear, feel, smell or even taste. This type of mindful activity should help your child appreciate their surroundings and the experience of walking through nature with you. As you can see, there are lots of ways you can encourage your child to be mindful. The trick is to practise little and often, and then it should start to come naturally to them.