Food For Thought By The Sea is excited to bring mindfulness to our community and today we’re sharing 3 daily mindfulness exercises that you can practice with your children whether they’re in school or at home.
Bringing Mindfulness into your classroom or family’s life can mean calmer, more joyful kids, a greater appreciation for what we have, and a sense of peace within the routine of daily life. Mindfulness is also an amazing life skill for children to learn in a very “busy” world. It helps with emotional regulation and body awareness. It also helps to foster focus and develop a sense of gratefulness that becomes a built-in part of who we are.
So now that you know why mindfulness is an awesome addition to your family life, let’s get to those three ways to bring it home!
Good Morning And Good Night Mindful Breathing
Mindful breathing is exactly what it sounds like. It is the act of bringing your awareness to your breath. When teaching children mindful breathing it’s important not to encourage them to hold their breath or restrict breathing in an unhealthy manner. Rather than those directions, try using words like “attention” or phrases like “can you feel your belly rising and falling?”
One easy meditative breathing exercise is a Good Morning or Good Night set of mindful breaths.
With the child sitting at their desk, on the edge of their bed, or in a comfy seat, ask them to close their eyes.
Ask them to bring their hands to their belly or heart.
Ask them to feel their breath going in and out, feeling their heart or chest rising and falling.
Count six breaths with them in this manner.
Ask them to open their eyes when they’re ready.
Sit for a moment, smile, and when ready, move forward with your day.
If this is your child’s first time doing this, you may want to ask them how they feel afterward. This is, of course, optional.
Meal Time Gratitude
Meal time is an awesome chance to infuse gratitude into your day.
This small gratitude practice can become a family or classroom routine that children expect and look forward to.
Sitting before a meal, ask your child to name 3 things that they’re grateful for and feel free to share your own to model the practice.
Repeat this once a day at the same time to develop the routine and invite guests and visitors to get in on the gratitude too!
If your child is older you may want to ask them to share why they’re grateful for that person or thing. This is a deeper level of gratitude and is an awesome way to expand the child’s appreciation for the gifts in their lives.
Body Scans For Calm and Awareness
The last exercise we’re offering is a mindfulness powerhouse. Whether you’re in a classroom or your living room, body scans help children build body awareness and regulate emotions by bringing attention to their body in a sequence.
Begin with a child sitting (or lying down if you’re at home and want to get comfy).
Ask them to close their eyes if they feel safe and comfortable doing so.
Ask them to bring their attention to their breath, to the rising and falling of their stomachs.
Then beginning with the toes and feet, lead them through bringing their attention to each part of their bodies: feet, legs, hips, belly, shoulders, arms, fingers, neck, head.
As you lead their attention, ask them to recognize how that part of the body feels (Ex: relaxed, tense, fuzzy, etc.)
As you guide their attention, allow them to keep their attention in a particular area for three breaths so they begin to know the sensations and acknowledge them before moving on.
When you reach the top of the head you can ask the child to softly open their eyes and ask them how they feel after the body scan.
We’ve made suggestions about when to use these techniques but when and how you bring mindfulness into your family’s life is up to you.
Have you tried something from this blog?
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