Mindfulness is not a new concept but ingrained into the culture of Hinduism and Buddhism cultures from a very long time. But this concept has been forgotten by many and people got busier in this competitive world and they started doing multi-tasking. Some people keep rushing from one task to the other without taking a minute break as well. Only recently this mindfulness concept came back into the picture and is gaining more and more popularity. As we started inducing stress into our children’s lives as well, now it has reached an imperative stage where we need to start inculcating mindfulness in kids as well.
What exactly is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be easily described by this age-old idiom “Stop and Smell the Roses“. It means to take a pause and live in the present moment and enjoy the moment. In the current day, modern and busy world, no one really takes a minute for themselves as too many thoughts keep clouding their mind. Hence they are not able to relax or rewind.
The same goes for the kids as well. Right from the toddler age itself, kids are becoming busier these days with so many scheduled activities and playdates arranged by well-meaning parents. Hence, they are not even getting time to savor their time or food.
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t mean that we need to stop everything and sit down and meditate or do some guided breathing activities. Those activities are suggested by the instructors so that we will get used to sitting down for a couple of minutes without rushing to some other place.
Actual mindfulness is a habit or practice which allows us to savor the present moment. Like enjoying every single bite of our meal, instead of gulping it down while watching the T.V., The key focus is to enjoy the moment, without any negativity or judgments on the process/people. If we can inculcate this process, then we can be mindful of each and every activity we do.
Why we should teach Mindfulness to Kids?
Some parents wonder what are the benefits of this new term Mindfulness, why we should be teaching our kids to be Mindful. Isn’t this term really big for our kids to understand? Here, we need to understand that this concept of Mindfulness is being practiced by our ancestors and forefathers for ages. Unless they would have seen the benefits of this practice, they wouldn’t be using it right? Here is the list of few benefits that I could think about being Mindful of.
Mindfulness Improves the Focus.
Most of the parents complain that their kids don’t have any focus on their studies or they don’t really concentrate on their goals. The basic underlying reason for this that the kids are being used to moving from one task to the other in a jiffy that they don’t really concentrate on the tasks at hand. Following the mindfulness practices like meditation and guided breathing improves the concentration levels and focusing skills of the kids and hence the kids can learn better.
Mindfulness removes the Stress:
Stress is the buzzword these days, which is impacting everyone irrespective of their age and gender. Young toddlers are also becoming victims of this buzzword. Mindfulness removes or reduces the stress, depression, and releases all the tension that’s built into a person’s system due to unnecessary worrying and anxieties.
Mindfulness gives better control on the Emotional Management:
Practicing mindfulness techniques have shown to not only reduce anxiety but also improves emotional regulation. When the mind and body are relaxed, then we will be able to identify the underlying causes for various emotions, which can be addressed easily.
Mindfulness builds the relationships
Practicing mindfulness techniques helps the person to listen better, as they know when to take a pause and stop multi-tasking. That will help them to be more patient and understand others better. So being mindful will also act as the stepping stone for building healthier relationships with others.
How to teach Mindfulness to Kids?
There are many ways and techniques to teach Mindfulness to kids. Here are the few techniques that I use with my kid and also in the group sessions that I conduct these days to inculcate Mindfulness in Kids.
Teach the Mindfulness concept using stories: As kids do get attracted to stories, we can use the storybooks that are already available in the market or make up our own stories to teach the concept of Mindfulness to Kids.
Introduce them to enjoy their senses: As we are rushing through the various tasks, we forget to really appreciate the beauty around us. There are a lot of activities like tasting a raisin, feel the goodies in a bag, keeping their eyes closed, hear the rain or bell sound, etc which will make the kids use their different senses and also enjoy them.
Guided Breathing techniques: There are a lot of guided breathing techniques, which will enable them to experience different feelings and also feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Using these techniques will make the person become aware of the air flowing in and out of their body. So they will become aware of their physical self and will understand how their body will react in different situations.
Practice Muscle relaxation techniques: The progressive muscle relaxation techniques are meant to observe different muscles and parts of the body. While the parents guide them with the script, the kids are asked to tighten and relax various muscles which will relieve the tension and anxiety in the body.
Observing everyday objects and journaling: Journaling the daily activities will help the kids to understand how they spend their time in various activities. Observing and drawing a picture of everyday objects will let the child perceive those things in a totally different light. This heightens their sense of observation.
As this blog is intended to discuss the importance of Mindfulness and 5 important tips to inculcate mindfulness in kids, I am not giving the list of the activities that I follow here. I will be coming up with another blog shortly on the same.