Teaching Mindfulness at All Ages
It is never too early to begin teaching your child mindfulness. Mindfulness can help to decrease anxiety, promote happiness, and cultivate resilience. Mindfulness gives your child the beauty of being present in the moment.
Mindfulness with Babies
Model mindfulness. The best way to teach mindfulness at this age to is be present in the moment with your baby without any distractions. Put down your phone and engage with your baby. Be fully attentive. Pick your baby up and begin walking around. Watch your feet, and feel each foot as you step. Listen to the sounds around you as you walk. Think about how much you appreciate your child and the ways your life is better because of your child. Send well wishes as you step, such as “may we be healthy”, “may we be happy”, or “may we be rested”.
Mindfulness with Toddlers
Choose activities for your child that promote focus and creativity and activities that spark curiosity, such as crafts, reading, or talking. Demonstrate kindness by treating others with kindness. Teach your child deep breathing exercises. Express gratitude- tell your child what you appreciate in your life and what you are thankful for.
Mindfulness for Preschoolers
Practice mindfulness every day and make it part of your child’s daily routine. Encourage your child to explore new sensations- not only those that are enjoyable, but also those that are unfamiliar. Meditate in front your child. Teach forgiveness- this will help your child to move on from challenging situations, rather than getting caught up in the problem. Help them to learn that difficult moments will pass.
Mindfulness for School-Aged Children
Use R.A.I.N., an exercise to help your child be in the present moment.
R: Recognize and acknowledge what is happening.
A: Accept what is happening, rather than wishing it were different.
I: Investigate how you are feeling.
N: Non-Identification: Realize that what you are feeling is one moment and it will pass; it will not define who you are.
New York Times