Kids of all ages can significantly benefit from practicing mindfulness. It can help them develop positive qualities like focus, curiosity, compassion, and empathy while also keeping them entertained.
Mindfulness is the simple practice of embracing the present moment with an accepting, gentle attitude and bringing your attention to it. In children, it helps promote happiness and decrease anxiety. Studies show that mindfulness activities help increase focus, reduce stress, and improve academic performance in kids.
By introducing kids to mindfulness practices, we can equip them to face the stresses of the world with presence, openness, and self-compassion from an early age.
In recent years, mindfulness has gained lots of popularity. However, not many people discuss its potential in children's lives and how we can help them practice it.
In this article, we’ll discuss its benefits and the three fun mindfulness activities to get your kids started. Let’s begin!
Benefits of teaching mindfulness activities to your kids
1. Improves academic aptitude and performance
The study found that children who practiced mindfulness developed better conflict resolution skills and portrayed overall better well-being.
2. Sharpened focus
Children are known for their short attention spans, jumping from one thing to another all day.
Mindfulness practices were found to be effective in improving self-control, focus, classroom presence, involvement and participation in activities, and compassion among peers.
3. Reduced stress levels
As children learn to draw their attention to the present moment and accept it with a positive attitude, risks of anxiety and depression fade away.
Hence, the study found mindfulness-practicing children to show decreased signs of anxiety, depression, and disruptive behavior.
What is a good age to introduce kids to mindfulness activities?
In all development stages in a person’s life, mindfulness can be incorporated as a powerful tool to promote overall well-being, reduce anxiety and stress, and promote happiness. The same goes for children of all ages.
Children as young as three years of age can learn and practice breathing techniques and feel a significant positive change in their bodies.
With guidance in the right direction provided by their parents, a child can regularly practice mindfulness and retain and use those skills when they need them.
By around age 4, they can develop strong mindfulness skills, which they can utilize independently.
If your child is old enough to benefit from mindfulness, here are three highly entertaining ways to get them started.
1. Yoga for kids
Yoga is an incredible mindfulness activity that can open the doors to countless physical and spiritual health benefits. These include:
- Improved concentration and focus
- Refined coordination and balance
- A boost in self-esteem
- Enhanced physical flexibility
- Strengthened mind-body connection
How is yoga taught to children?
With children, you should always start small—no matter what you’re introducing them to. After all, they don’t have an adult’s stamina to practice yoga for 60 minutes straight.
Start with merely a few minutes of breathing and movement every day, focusing on bringing your child to a calm and relaxed state. You can practice it at any time of the day, but it’s best to hold these short sessions at the same time slot every day.
It can be added to their morning routines or act as a calming transition to bedtime, or whichever slot you (or they) might prefer.
Once they get comfortable focusing on their breathing and extending their arms comfortably, it’s time to introduce them to basic yoga poses. You can get a kid-friendly yoga book with appealing illustrations to take inspiration from.
Also, the idea that yoga requires absolute precision and seriousness has no place here. Keep your sessions as lighthearted and fun as possible.
As you introduce them to more and more yoga poses, they’ll discover their favorite ones soon. They’ll try those repeatedly, giggle at failures, and may even keep trying them throughout the day. That’s when you know their journey as a little yogi has begun!
2. Meditation for kids
Mindful meditation means learning to bring your attention to what’s happening around you at this moment.
At its core, it’s merely an honest and positive look at what you’re feeling in the present, but more importantly, a skill to develop for guiding one’s mind.
How is meditation taught to children?
You can introduce your children to meditation by doing formal and informal meditation practices along with them.
The younger your child is, the shorter their initial meditation sessions should be. This ensures that they don’t get bored of meditation in the first couple of days but experience it gradually every day.
For formal practices, you can sit down with them and start explaining the concept of meditation to them and what you’re about to try together with them.
With that out of the way, you can ease them into 5 to 10 minutes of guided meditation sessions together, which govern your breathing patterns and help you relax.
Apart from these formal sessions, you can also introduce them to informal techniques, such as doing whatever they do with complete, undivided, and unbiased focus.
These include activities like eating their food ‘mindfully,’ paying attention when they walk, etc.
3. Tai Chi for kids
Tai Chi can be an excellent activity for kids to practice mindfulness.
Drawing its origins from Wudang, China, Tai Chi is an inner-focused mind-body practice backed by Taoism and Yin-Yang theories. Several Harvard studies researching the bodywork involved in Tai Chi found that it can help maintain flexibility, balance, and strength.
As Tai Chi involves all joints and muscle groups to perform its particular movements gently and slowly, it has shown to significantly improve flexibility, balance, strength, stamina, and coordination.
How is Tai Chi taught to children?
Tai Chi is commonly referred to as ‘meditation in motion,’ with profound spiritual and physical health benefits.
The particular movements of Tai Chi may be challenging at the beginning, especially for kids under the age of 6, as they require focused bodywork and concentration.
As children train and perform these moves correctly, it can significantly help them achieve truly mindful movement.
There are plenty of free video resources available for children’s Tai Chi online. Put them on, and imitate the movements with your child!
With consistent practice, their balance and movements will only get better. Make sure to boost their confidence with positive reassurance when they do well!
Mindfulness is the key to finding happiness in the modern, fast-paced world. Ingraining mindfulness skills into your kids’ habits at an early age can have tremendous effects on their personality development.
Kids as young as 3 to 4 years of age can be taught simple techniques to learn and practice. With practice, consistency, and continued guidance, they’ll soon be able to practice mindfulness independently through fun activities like yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, and more!