Being a stay-at-home Mom, I have started to research various projects to do with my kids during the day. We try and do a couple of art projects each week and they both have sports that they are involved with. Now the the weather is nicer, we are spending much more time outside. They see me practicing mindfulness from time to time. I try and include them when I do Hatha Yoga or Belly Breathing to expose them to some sort of mindfulness.
I think teaching kids about awareness of themselves, others, and our surrounding environments is extremely important. I recently read Teaching Mindfulness to Children by Karen Hooker, Psy.D. and Iris Fodor, Ph.D. This paper discusses mindfulness and its benefits for adults then goes into detail of how to adapt mindfulness techniques with children. It discusses the benefits a child will experience, especially surrounding awareness. It also features mindfulness exercises that attend to the cognitive processes and how to integrate mindfulness into school curriculum.
After reading this, I started to brainstorm daily activities to do with my kids. Here are a few concepts I am going to try. Keep in mind that my kids are pre-school age.
- Nature Walk – We can take a walk through the neighborhood or to the park. During our walk, I can ask them what they see around them. On the ground, in the sky, what the weather (sun, wind, etc.) feel like to them.
- Bug Hunt – My kids love to find bugs. Once we find them we can count the ants, or count the spots on a lady bug.
- Driving – During our drive, my kids have always pointed out airplanes, motorcycles, trains, or big trucks. When they see these things, I can ask them to tell me the sounds they hear or colors they see.
- Belly Breathing – This exercise should be kept short in time. For 1-3 minutes we sit with our legs crossed or lay down on our backs, breathing in and out. I ask them to put their hands on their belly and feel it go up and down.
- Blowing Bubbles – We can blow bubbles outside. I can ask them if they see any colors in the bubbles or if they are traveling up or across. The other thing I can ask is what made the bubble pop.
These are just a few of the activities I am going to do with my kids to start practicing mindfulness. Kids naturally are in the present moment and do a lot of observing. This will also teach me to be in the moment with them.
I would love to hear more recommendations of activities for children to cultivate mindfulness? Please share your comments below! You can also follow me on Twitter.