Mindfulness for Children
Most adults agree that stress is harmful to our bodies and our minds.
By now, many adults are practicing mindfulness exercises in order to manage the harmful effects of stress.
As parents, you may have heard your children describe adult mindfulness activities as boring.
So, what are some ways that we can introduce mindfulness practices to our children and ensure that they will repeat the practices on their own?
The answer is by making them fun, playful, and a little competitive.
To teach your children about mindfulness, try this simple mindful eating exercise with them:
1. To begin, gather several small, bite-size pieces of different types of foods. I prefer foods that are widely contrasting such as cubes of watermelon and tortilla chips.
2. Choose one of the items, such as the watermelon, and examine it with your senses. Have your child describe what it looks like, what it smells like, and what it feels like.
3. Place one piece of watermelon on your tongue and have your child do the same. Have him or her notice how it feels on the tongue and what is happening inside of his or her mouth as a result of the watermelon being introduced.
4. Instruct your child to see how many chews he or she can make with their teeth before the watermelon dissolves or is swallowed. Perform this step with him or her, and create a game out of it to see who can get the most chews in before swallowing.
You can try this step with several pieces of watermelon. Try each time to get more chews in before swallowing. If you want, you can take turns counting each others' chews.
5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 with another food item, such as a tortilla chip.
6. After the activity, talk with your child about what they experienced. Which part did they like the best? What was the most challenging? What other foods would they like to try this with? Did any other thoughts enter their mind when they were concentrating on the food items?
Make an effort to engage your child in a mindful eating activity at least once a week.
It can help them to slow down and enjoy their food as well as teach them about the practice of mindfulness.