Using Mindfulness with Children
Being mindful means we are aware of what we are sensing and feeling in the present moment. Teaching mindfulness techniques to kids will help them learn how to notice and regulate their emotions. Some formal ways of practicing mindfulness include yoga and meditation, but mindfulness can be really simple, like taking a few deep breaths, or looking out the window and counting 3 things that you see. Check out this link to see Katherine Earl talking with CTV news about how to teach kids mindfulness to help cope with stress.
Here are 3 simple ways to introduce mindfulness to kids:
- Naming emotions: Have a list of emotions on the fridge so kids can identify what they are feeling. Use the names of the emotions to guide conversations. Kids get to know themselves by understanding their own emotions and those of the people around them. Try printing the Feelings Wheel from the internet for reference.
- Guided visualization: If your child is really anxious or worried about something have them lie down in a comfortable place and take a few deep breaths. Guide them to imagine a light filling their body, one body part at a time from their toes all the way up to their heads. Working from toes to head should take 2-5 minutes. This exercise helps to ground kids and get them back into the present moment.
- Hot Chocolate Breaths: If your child is overwhelmed and emotions are running high ask them to pretend to hold a cup of hot chocolate. Ask them to breathe in out using long breaths while they pretend to blow the steam off the top. They repeat this until they are calm enough to identify and express their emotions.