You fold the laundry while keeping one eye on the kids and another on the television. You plan your day while listening to the radio and commuting to work, and then plan your weekend. Did you notice whether you felt well-rested this morning or that forsythia is in bloom along your route to work? Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment.
Mindfulness allows us to be present in our parenting, choosing the skillful response instead of succumbing to our visceral reactions. Mindfulness is also good for our kids. There is an emerging body of research that indicates that mindfulness can help our children improve their abilities to pay attention, to calm down when they are upset, and to make better decisions.
In short, it helps with emotional regulation and cognitive focus. Do I even need to ask if you want that for your kids? How can we teach mindfulness to kids? First things first… Establish your own practice. You would have trouble teaching your children ballet if you had never danced.
To authentically teach mindfulness to your children, you need to practice it yourself. You can read my guide to establishing a meditation practice hereor my popular post 40 Ways to Bring Mindfulness to Your Days here for some ideas to get started.
A core principle of mindfulness is letting go of expectations, and this certainly applies to teaching mindfulness to kids. Are you expecting mindfulness to eliminate tantrums? If so, you are likely to be disappointed. While feeling calm or being quiet are nice side-effects of mindfulness, they are not the ultimate purpose.
This is a good time for you to practice non-attachment to outcomes! Go sit in the mindful corner!
With older kids, you can share the widely-used definition from Jon Kabat-Zinn in the image above. But those are a lot of big words for little kids. Listen to the bell. An easy way for children to practice mindfulness is to focus on paying attention to what they can hear. Tell your children that you will make the sound, and they should listen carefully until they can no longer hear the sound which is usually 30 seconds to a minute.
Create a mindful bedtime ritual. Bedtime is a great time to introduce mindfulness to kids. My daughter loves to do a short body-scan meditation before bed — she closes her eyes, and I tell her to bring her attention to her toes, to her feet, to her legs, etc.
It is a calming way to return to the body at the end of the day. You can find several downloadable meditation scripts including body scans hereand you can read about the bedtime ritual my daughter and I created here.
Practice with a breathing buddy.
They focus their attention on the rise and fall of the stuffed animal as they breathe in and out. Make your walks mindful. Establish a gratitude practice. I believe gratitude is a fundamental component of mindfulness, teaching our children to appreciate the abundance in their lives, as opposed to focusing on all the toys and goodies that they crave.
It is one of my favorite parts of the day. Try the SpiderMan meditation! My five-year-old son is in to all things superheroes, and this SpiderMan meditation is right up his alley. Such a clever idea!
Meditate with your children.Meditation can be quite a tricky practice because the mind is like a naughty child. By its very nature, the mind tends to wander off during the meditation practice.
If ones energy is low at the time of meditation, falling asleep can result. We’ve all heard that meditation is good for us, but beyond “It’s relaxing”, we might not be sure exactly why. The truth is that you can experience a multitude of both direct and indirect benefits from meditation, and in this post, we’re going to look at 10 benefits of meditation that you.
Jennifer Lee, CPCC, PCC, MA, is the founder of Artizen Coaching® and the author of Building Your Business the Right-Brain Way and the bestseller The Right-Brain Business Plan, which has helped tens of thousands of entrepreneurs around the world launch their creative businesses.
Learn and practice relaxation techniques; try meditation, yoga, or tai-chi for stress management. Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit. Personal development consulting is gaining in popularity.
It can save you time, money and headaches if it's right for you. Here is a self assessment for you to see.
In a good business plan, energy flows in, around, out, and back. You spend energy creating a product people want, and then you get energy back in the form of money and the consumer liking your brand.
There is a beautiful geometry to this.