Studies are proving that kids who practice mindfulness show benefits to psychological well-being, social skills and academics; here’s how to inspire calm awareness:
#1 Set an example
Mindfulness isn’t something that intuitively appears in children—parents need to cultivate it, writes Sean Grover, LCSW, psychotherapist and child development expert. And he says the best way to inspire such a mindset is to be the example. If your child sees you on a consistent basis practicing mindfulness—whether it’s in the form of yoga or meditation—they will see the benefits first hand in you.
In our age of always being tuned into technology, it’s extremely important to step back and unplug. Grover, the author of When Kids Call the Shots, recommends setting aside times during the day when no one in the family touches technology. That includes television! “Children who are always engaged in technology are more impulsive and rarely have time for self-reflection, which is the bedrock of mindfulness.”
#3 Make it easy
Sometimes meditation is just plain difficult, even for adults. But mindfulness can come in many different forms, both quiet and still or active. A fun way to incorporate the practice as a family is doing a “mindful walk” through the neighborhood. Take a few minutes to walk and simply pay attention to all the sights and sounds i.e. lawnmowers, crickets, birds etc..for an even deeper experience, take the kids on a nature hike in the forest.
#4 Nurture a meditative practice
Sitting quietly trying to control thoughts can be stressful for children with anxiety challenges. For many children, making an effort to pay attention to what they hear is a lot easier. They can focus on just one sound and they can listen carefully until they can no longer hear the sound i.e. 20 seconds of a singing bowl or a set of chimes. There are also many phone apps with meditative sounds on it.
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