Teach Mindfulness to Kids
Breathe in Happiness
I’m walking out of a busy community center one day and pass a young woman who is holding the hand of a pouting, very cute toddler. Imploding into a tantrum appears to be a distinct possibility for the little guy. In those moments, I am privy to their conversation.
Calmly, the woman (who appears to be mom to the toddler) says:
“Breathe in happiness … and blow out that anger, dude.”
In classic toddler fashion, the boy further extends his pout and mumbles incoherently.
After a pause, Mom follows up, softly, sweetly: “There is no room for being happy in all that anger.”
Miraculously—at least to me—the toddler appears to listen to her. He does not freak out. He actually calms down.
This mom has taught her young child basic mindfulness, which has helped him regulate his emotions. He could have spiraled down in his anger but the mindful exchange he shared with mom allowed him to pass through it fairly unscathed and move on. It seemed an accepted aspect of their dialogue. What a gift this woman has given herself and her child.
As D. Gelles wrote in a New York Times article, “Children of all ages can benefit from mindfulness, the simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment. It can help parents and caregivers, too, by promoting happiness and relieving stress.”
Sharing Mindfulness Skills with Kids
So, with the benefits of mindfulness for kids on my mind, I’m wondering what teaching tips might be useful for parents and other parties who want to aid children in building mindfulness skills. I did a little research into tips and teaching methods—here’s are a couple links to get you rolling:
- Practicing mindfulness benefits parents and children, UW study says | UW News (washington.edu)
- Can Mindfulness Help Parents and Preteens Have Better… (berkeley.edu)
- Mindfulness for Children – Well Guides – The New York Times (nytimes.com)
- Why and How to Teach Your Kids Mindfulness (parents.com)
- 12 Simple Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Kids | Psychology Today
- Mindfulness for toddlers: How to get started – Mindful Little Minds Psychology
- 16 Mindfulness Activities For Preschoolers – Early Impact Learning
- 6 Activities to Introduce Mindfulness to Young Children – First Chance For Children
- 51 Mindfulness Exercises for Kids in the Classroom – Waterford.org
- 25 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Children & Teens (+Tips!) (positivepsychology.com)
Don’t Forgot to Teach Yourself to be Mindful
Now, of course, if you are teaching your children (or any children for that matter) mindfulness, it is ideal if you are also working on incorporating mindfulness into your own routines. Here are a few related links:
- Can mindfulness practices strengthen your parenting skills? – MSU Extension
- I’m a Mom and Mindfulness Teacher: Here’s How to Help Kids Navigate Big Feelings (parents.com)
- Mindfulness for Parents | ZERO TO THREE
- A Mindfulness Practice for Stressed-Out Parents – Mindful
- 30 Mindfulness Activities for Parents to Help You Relax and Focus on the Present – Waterford.org
I wish for you patience, self-compassion and moments of joy in learning mindfulness skills and teaching them to your children!
Article by Kristin Littel
Also see the blogs in our Mindfulness Series – Mindful Counseling Center LLC (mindful-counseling-center.com)
Contact the Mindful Counseling Center if you are interested in incorporating mindfulness skill-building into psychotherapy.