Teaching kids mindfulness is NOT something that’s easy and there’s more ways to teach mindfulness than by forcing your kids to meditate or do yoga. If you’re looking to teach mindfulness to your kids, read on!
In this blog I want to share with you a few tips that have helped me teach mindfulness to my 5 kids. From hiking to journaling and everything in between, these 5 tips are guaranteed to help you when teaching mindfulness to your kids!
Practicing mindfulness is a big deal in our household. I love being able to talk about self growth, self awareness, and emotional intelligence with my kids and this might be something you want too.
Pssst. If mindfulness is something you think your kids would love to explore, my 16 year old daughter teaches a mindfulness for kids class twice a week. You can learn more about it here!
Why You Should Be Teaching Mindfulness To Your Kids
Mindfulness is one of the most important things you can teach your child. By teaching kids mindfulness, we are teaching them from a young age to slow down and and practice self awareness, helping them become less anxious, less angry, and more aware of what really makes them tick.
Becoming mindful doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not easy for kids to learn. These are the way I practiced mindfulness with my kids!
1 | Hike In Nature
While spending the past 5 years immersing ourselves in nature, our family has had a lot of opportunities to connect with our individual thoughts, ideas, and energy in nature.
I’d love to say hiking is the secret to creating more mindful kids however, if it’s not something you’re regularly doing, it’s not necessarily going to be a natural byproduct.
Some kids will naturally fall into the rhythm of their footsteps and let their minds get lost in the chirping of birds and chipmunks. Many kids will just be so excited to be in nature jumping off rocks and fighting with stick swords that there might be less connection with their own thoughts but there certainly is an element of self awareness happening.
2 | Move Body In Exploration
While mindfulness occurs in the brain, it needs a stimulant to be mindful of. For most of us, we fill this space of our mind with distractions and entertainment instead of taking in how our physical bodies feel and the way they move.
By practicing yoga, martial arts, gymnastics, climbing, and many other sports, it provides an opportunity to practice mindfulness.
Encourage your child to participate in these types of activities for the sake of understanding and noticing the body instead of for achievement, recognition or competition. That doesn’t mean there can’t be a place for those things in kids lives, it’s just important to also nurture bodily self awareness too.
3 | Sit In Silence
Our kids are constantly being bombarded with noise and information. Those days of sitting in silence staring out a window are gone (or require a huge effort on us as parents to provide). While meditation is an easy way to do this, getting a child to sit down willingly to meditate takes some work.
For me, I led by example. I’d go to yoga and mediation class and invite my kids along. Sometimes they joined me, sometimes they didn’t. I’d never make a big deal about it nor correct them on how to do a posture better. You can open the door and invite them in, but don’t try to control their journey.
Beautiful things happen in silence. We, kids included, begin to take notice. We notice subtleties. We notice emotion. We notice thoughts. We notice past behaviors.
This space of noticing is where the magic happens. Resist the urge to probe, judge, or define these things for you kids. Instead, use these three strategies…
Ask Questions to Teach Mindfulness
Like a good investigative reporter ask the 5W’s- who, what, when, where, why
You want your child to know that you respect their ideas and that you believe they have a uniqueness to offer. If your child chooses to open up, you can ask things such as:
- Who do you look up to?
- What are qualities you like about them?
- When is a time you felt extreme joy and happiness?
- Where do you see yourself contributing to the world one day?
- Why do you think you feel that way?
Validate Their Thoughts + Feelings to Help Them be Mindful
As a type 8, ENTJ, I want to solve problems and come up with solutions but luckily, parenting has helped me do less telling and more understanding. As a parent, if we can validate what kids are feeling, we enable them to work through their emotions in a healthy fashion. We don’t want to say things like “It’s not okay to be angry, sad, jealous,” etc.
Mindfulness is about giving yourself the green light to feel however you feel but then working through the different ways to react that serve our highest self.
Help Your Kids Connect The Dots
I think the biggest benefit of being more mindful is that it improves our reaction to life. Things happen to us constantly and the better we get at reacting mindfully and aligned with who we want to be, the happier we can be.
As adults, we slowly learn that if we’re angry, sad, or frustrated, it’s for a reason. For most kids though, when they’re angry, sad, or frustrated, they don’t think about the reason, they just know that they’re angry, sad, or frustrated.
Once we validate that it’s okay to have these emotions we can then ask “now why do you think you feel like this?”, after they have given it some thought and they still don’t know, you can tell them what you think the problem is and help them find solution.
The key with this one is not to GIVE them the solution or be angry with them that they don’t know why they feel this way. If we give them the answer, then they aren’t noticing what the cause of their emotions are. And if we yell at them for not knowing what makes them feel bad then we will only make them feel more angry, sad, frustrated, etc.
4 | Allow For Mindful Creativity
There’s nothing like sitting down to draw, paint, write, or any other form of creation to draw awareness to thy self. When we create, our breathing slows down, our focus heightens, and we become more in touch with our dreams, desires, and insights into the word.
Creativity doesn’t allow room for judgement. This has to do a bit with the Sacral Chakra, which controls our creativity and our self worth. When we routinely practice creativity we are boosting our child’s self worth.
Related Blog: Beginner’s Guide To Chakras
5 | Start A Gratitude Journal
No matter what our age or demographic or social status, we all feel some form of struggle. We think things aren’t fair or someone has an easier or better life than us. Kids are not immune to these feelings and one of the best ways to combat this is to stop and acknowledge all the good things we do have.
Our brains are programmed to remember bad things 5 times more than good things so we have to really work hard in order to remember how lucky we really are. Create a habit of spending some time every evening where everyone in the family sits down to write in a gratitude journal.
Another way to practice gratitude is by doing a gratitude meditation. Sit together in silence and think of all the things you are grateful for. This meditation can be any time between 5-15 minutes.
I hope these mindfulness tips help you and your kids practice mindfulness! If you have any questions leave a comment below! Stay mindful, friends!
If you’re really interested in teaching your kids mindfulness, you should check out our 10 Week Mindfulness For Kids Course my daughter is teaching! P.S you can sign up for the first week free! You can click here to learn more!
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