5 Ways To Teach Kids Mindfulness
What is mindfulness? When we hear the term mindfulness, our brains instantly go to a still and quiet meditation, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Being mindful simply means to live in the present moment, to experience your emotions, and to feel your body. Living a mindful life (as explained in this article) relieves stress, anxiety, and helps you to learn to work through your emotions. Teaching kids mindfulness will greatly set them up for success and gives them an invaluable life skill which will help them enjoy little moments and aid in coping with the less than ideal ones.
We can teach our kids mindfulness starting at a very young age. I started teaching coping skills to my son around 1.5 years old, we consistently grew this practice as he got older. My husband and I would slowly add in coping mechanisms (which came in really handy when he became a three-nager).
When kids in school were being mean, I was concerned about him until he told me how he handled the situation. My then four-year-old told his friends at school that they needed to find more love in their hearts and not to worry because he would send them some. (Gah my heart) He also said to them that until they could be nicer and better listeners, he was going to play with someone else.
As an adult, I think that we can sometimes miss the mark on this. We get so worked up about things and let small moments ruin our mood for days at a time. If we all had these skills to self-soothe when things get tough and to lovingly speak our minds, I know our world and our lives would be much different.
Here are 5 ways to teach mindfulness to kids.
1. Be an example To Kids
Kids model our behavior. They are watching even when we think they haven’t heard a word we have said. We, as the parents, teachers, and family condition kids by our own words and actions.
Teaching these coping and life skills to our kids starts with our own behavior. Show yourself love and speak positively of yourself and of others.
Don’t lie about your emotions to them! Kids are energy sensitive so telling them you’re feeling one thing but you’re actually feeling another is confusing to them. Tell them when you’re frustrated. Let kids know that you need to take deep breaths to calm yourself down. It’s ok to tell them that you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. Share with them that you’re taking a second to remind yourself of all of the things you’re good at and that this helps you know that everything will be ok.
When you’re sad, tell them you’re sad and tell them you’re breathing and allowing your feelings to come up so that you can work through them. Teach kids that when we acknowledge our emotions, it helps us to heal.
The bottom line is to communicate with them like kids but treat them like the energy sensitive human beings that they are.
2. Teach kids to pause and breathe before they react
Teaching kids to connect with their breath is a life skill I wish I had known years ago. It really helps to bring you back to the present moment.
Deep breathing relaxes not only the body but also the mind. You can even teach kids to pretend like they are breathing in a color that feels good to them.
Around 1.5 years old, we started doing this with my son. He had a tendency to get overwhelmed and frustrated very quickly. We would do the breathing with him while kneeling down to his level and looking in his eyes. It took a while before it caught on, but just the action of us doing it was enough to calm him down. By 3 he was doing it on his own! During a tantrum, we would remind him to breathe, and now it’s a coping skill I catch him using daily.
3. Ask kids questions
Tantrums, lack of focus, and sensitivity are all just parts of being a kid….er and human. These are reasonable actions as their brains are learning and growing.
Part of the reason that kids do have tantrums and uncontrollable crying fits is that they don’t know how to express or deal with their emotions because they don’t know precisely what they are feeling!
Help them by calling out different emotions they might be feeling. Ask them what it feels like and why they think they are feeling that way.
4. Help kids practice mindfulness by working through their emotions!
As adults, we can ask questions to help them identify their emotions and work through their feelings!
5. When a child is having a tantrum, try this:
Have them take a few dip breaths and take those breaths with them. Even if they don’t do it, you modeling the behavior will help you both!
Ask them if they know why they are upset.
Use sensory words to help them connect to their emotions. “Are you feeling like you have mean trying to come out of your body? Do you feel scared in your heart? Is your heart sad because of XYZ.” You get the idea!
Tell them you can relate to how they are feeling and that it is ok to feel that way, but they can not be mean or hurtful to another person. Teach them that they can feel and express their emotions without casting them onto another.
Have them take more breaths
Ask them how they want to feel. “Do you want to be sad today? Do you want to be angry today? Wouldn’t it be better to feel happy and get this sad out of here?”
Talk to them like the mini humans they are!
Give your kid a hug, no matter the outcome. Tell then you’re proud of how they tried to work through that with you and that next time it will be easier.
I promise that after trying these things just a few times, your child will become more receptive and start doing them on their own!
Another great tip is to allow your child to see you being kind to yourself and working through your own hardships by saying mantras and affirmations in front of them! I never thought my son was listening until he ASKED me to put my recorded affirmations on in the car!
I record affirmations with this free app called ThinkUp! You can get it here!
And if you’re feeling like these are great tools, but you have trouble staying positive, grounded, and in a high vibration then I invite you to look into the following offering that will surely support you!
The Intuitive Development And Management Course (great for empaths, unmanaged intuitives, and those that want to develop their gifts – it’s for everyone!)