Many of us understand and strive to practice the concept of mindfulness. We know that it’s highly vbeneficial to our mental health and personal development. But if we keep it to ourselves, we aren’t sharing a valuable tool for living a full and happy life. And who better to share it with than our children?
Teaching your kids to develop a deeper understanding and awareness of the world around them helps make them more inquisitive and insightful. Being the naturally curious humans that they are, those traits can be incredibly powerful when built upon. Many schools are now implementing mindfulness training programs into their curriculum.
The benefits are rather striking. Children who practice the concept experience improved academic performance and are more empathetic, making them better at resolving conflict. They are also less impulsive, more patient, have better moods and higher self-esteem.
With the holidays in full swing, now is a better time than ever to start teaching your kids the value of mindfulness. This will help them experience the festive season in a way they never have before and will serve as an important step in their journey towards becoming a successful adult.
In the words of Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, you can’t give your\ children what you don’t have. Mindfulness is best shared when you have some experience with the challenges and benefits of the discipline. To encourage mindfulness with your children, let them observe you when you practice it.
This can come in the form of journaling, yoga or meditation. Practice it openly and answer any questions that may come your way. It’s better to avoid being insistent and allow your kids to develop at their own pace. One study found that the effects of mindfulness were present among children whose parents practiced it, even if they weren’t directly taught.
A major part of the holidays, and perhaps the biggest reason why children look forward to it, is the prospect of being spoiled with new toys and gadgets. This makes it a great time to change their perception of receiving gifts and help them understand the value of appreciating the little things.
Instead of spoiling your child, take this opportunity to help them understand the true value that lies in everything. It can also serve as a great way to save money come future festive seasons. For instance, you can pick up some gifts on freebie websites instead of heading to the toy store, as most of them are totally free.
Focus on gifts that allow your kids to get crafty. This will stir their imagination and encourage them to notice the small details. Consider an activity such as drawing. You can tell your child to focus on the pencil, its texture and the way it moves across the paper. Talk to them about the history of the materials and how they made their way into their hands.
There are many fun exercises that your kids can participate in this festive season to help them learn about mindfulness. For instance, consider the bell exercise. Ring a bell and tell your child to listen carefully to the sound. They should raise their hands when they no longer hear it. Tell them to remain silent and focus on the other sounds they hear afterwards.
This helps them relate with the present moment and narrow-in on their perceptions. Breathing exercises and meditation work just as well. You can also have them jump up and down for a few seconds before asking them to listen to their heartbeat.