Nurturing Mindfulness in Children
Mindfulness is a very important skill for children of all ages to learn. It is never too late to start but it is better when this skill is introduced to them from an early age. Mindfulness and being mindful is proven to help children in many different situations. Children become more aware of their emotions and how to handle them when practicing mindfulness. Their attention and focus is increased and they have more self-control. Some ways they can put this skill into practice are through being aware of their surroundings, controlling their behaviour, the way they treat others and mindful eating. We will go into detail about some of these ways below:
When children are upset or frustrated in different situations, slow Mindful Breathing can help them to calm down. There are different types of breathing techniques children can use and practice.
Types of mindful breathing for children:
Hot Air Balloon Breathing– Bring your body to a sitting position and cross your legs. Place your hands at the base of your stomach. Begin taking deep breaths, pretending to blow up a balloon. As you inhale, move your hands up until it reaches the top of your head and place your hands together. As soon as your hands are touching each other, begin exhaling, pretending you are letting air out of the balloon, moving your hand in a wavy motion. Your hands should arrive at the base of your stomach again.
Bumble Bee Breathing– Sit with your legs crossed, use you hands to cover your eyes and take a deep breath in like you are smelling a flower. Exhale slowly and as you are exhaling, make the buzzing sound of a bee.
These breathing exercises are even great for children with anxiety or those caught in fight or flight situations.
Yoga for children is a great way to promote mindfulness. It helps children to become aware of their bodies and the ways they can move their bodies. It is a great way to stretch muscles and help them develop and grow. Yoga can be done through joining professional classes or in the comfort of your own home with the help of some YouTube videos. Cosmic Yoga on YouTube is a great start for children. Animal yoga poses are the most exciting for children. Some poses you can practice at home are the Crab pose, Butterfly pose and Bear pose just to name a few.
Mindful Eating uses many of the five senses. While children are practicing mindful eating, encourage them to choose healthy food and be aware of colour, taste and texture. Does their food make a sound when they eat it? How does it make them feel after they have eaten? How long does it take for them to get full? How does their body feel before and after they have eaten? These are some questions you can ask your child/children as they eat mindfully. As a parent identify if there was an emotional connection to the food and process. What was the emotion of your child before they began eating? Did it change throughout? How did they feel at the end? Through mindful eating, you can also talk to older children about being grateful for having food and parts of the world where children do not have access to clean food and water.
Positive Education is a great way to teach children to be mindful of how they treat others and to build positive relationships – and this is embedded into our every lives at Jumeirah International Nurseries. I always teach my children that they should treat others how they would want others to treat them. It’s about being kind, caring and respectful. It is a reciprocal effect and very important to understand in a world full of diversity and various cultures.
Start your journey of mindfulness with your child/ children today! There is so much good that can come from it.
Head of Early Years
Jumeirah International Nurseries (JINS)