Being mindful and practicing it regularly has so many benefits, especially for our kids. With it being a difficult year, making sure your children are taking part in mindfulness activities regularly is not only important for their mental-health but general well-being too. In fact, research shows just how powerful practicing mindfulness can be and has shown to help kids improve their attention span and social skills, make better decisions, be calmer and, improve cognitive focus. It’s also been shown to reduce the effects of bullying and lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Here’s nine mindfulness activities your child can practice alone or with you too!
1. A Gratitude List
Practicing gratitude is a wonderful way for children and adults to be mindful and appreciate the abundance of life. We recommend encouraging your children to keep an ongoing gratitude list and ask them to write down 3 things every day they are grateful for. This can be anything from a kind teacher, having fun with a friend, to eating a delicious dinner. Being able to take 5 minutes each day to focus on what they already have and actively writing it down helps kids develop a positive attitude and outlook for life. It can also really make children realise what’s important to them and appreciate all the good things in their life.
2. Take Deep Breaths
Practicing mindful breathing is a simple and effective activity to help children calm their bodies and mind. Ask your child to take 10 deep breaths, close their eyes and put their hand on their tummy. Next ask them to breathe in so deeply that the air fills their lungs and ask them to release the air very slowly through their lips. Get them to repeat this a couple of times. Having this time to focus on their breathing helps provide a calmer state of mind, where your kids can relax and re-centre if they’ve been feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
3. Calm Colouring
Colouring is an enjoyable way for anyone at any age to practice mindfulness. In fact, colouring can help children feel more present, appreciate colours and calm their mind all at the same time. We recommend getting your kids to pick out their own calm colouring book- there’s plenty of themed books to choose from including flowers, random patterns or even a Harry Potter version! Encourage them to take their time, relax and carefully colour in each section.
4. A Mindful Walk Outside
Going on a mindful walk outside is an excellent way for kids to practice mindfulness by taking some time to notice and enjoy the present moment. Ask your child to walk quietly so they can listen out for all the sounds of nature. You can discuss what they heard as well as which sounds they liked the most and why. Being outdoors immersed in nature and connecting to the surroundings is a fun and calming activity away from busy routines and stressful parts of everyday life.
Journaling is a wonderful mindfulness activity your children can practice anytime, anywhere. It gives them the time and space to explore who they are now and who they want to be. Your kids can write about anything including their thoughts, feelings, memories, stories, lists, goals, ideas, a problem they are having or just what they had for lunch. Being able to write out their thoughts not only helps with self-reflection but provides children with a safe place they can fully be themselves with no judgement from others.
6. Child Friendly Yoga
Even though yoga isn’t for everyone, it is a great mindful activity for your child to get involved in. Yoga teaches kids focus and self-awareness as well as encourages them to relax and breathe. We recommend getting started by having a look at cosmickids.com, where there are plenty of free fun yoga videos for your child to try out.
7. Listen To Music
Getting your child to take some time out to mindfully listen to some music of their choice is a great way for them to relax and re-centre. Melodies and rhythms can have such a positive effect on mood, while the act of listening to music also gives your kids time for self-observation, promotes happiness and helps with reducing anxiety and stress levels.
8. Quiet Time
Encouraging your child to take a few minutes out of their day to sit quietly is a brilliant way for them to focus on their thoughts and take time out to reflect on what’s happening in their life. Often kids don’t know how they’re really feeling, so sitting down without distractions gives them uninterrupted time to reflect. It’s also a great activity for your child if they’re feeling overwhelmed or worried as it can provide mental clarity and mindfulness.
Believe it or not, puzzles are a fantastic mindfulness activity for children to enjoy. Due to the high focus required but slow nature of doing a puzzle, they’re actually a very soothing and calming task. Whether it’s a word search, a crossword or a sudoku, there’s lots to choose from! We love this puzzle activity book for kids here.