“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.”– William Blake
Here are some of my preschool students on a recent field trip to our local gardens. About 10 frogs presented themselves that day. We spent as long as we could just staring at this little frog. Nothing was as fascinating as that frog! It was pure mindfulness. Totally living in the moment. Since then I’ve gone back to study the frogs, bees and fall leaves. I’ve never felt such peace.
Children should be naturals at mindfulness. Yet these days so many children are combating anxiety, having trouble concentrating and controlling anger.
Aniexty is a big problem. I recently read that 1 in 8 children feel some kind of anxiety. Some are depressed, some are worried and having panic attacks. It’s hard to imagine! And with all the technology, sticking to a task for a long time is more and more difficult.
There are several tools to combat anxiety through mindfulness. Kids need more time to be mindful. It’s up to us teachers and parents to give that to them.
These 9 tips can help give your kids a more mindful life. Oh and by the way, there’s a bonus; YOU get to be more mindful, too! I promise peace and happiness! Here is what I do as a teacher and a parent.
1. Let your children play – plant a garden, make a fort, run through sprinklers, stomp in puddles, make leaf boats to go down creeks, collect rocks, throw them in a pond, teach your child to skip rocks, play in mud, carry sticks, dig a hole, collect insects and freeze in the snow.
2. Laugh more – Smiling and laughing is invaluable! Google some jokes and put together a repertoire of jokes. The laughter and smiling will make you feel better too!
3. Have “Creative Time” – This summer we started doing something creative every day at 3:30 for at least a 1/2 hour. We went to our community craft store, loaded up on clay, acrylics and canvases just to see what would happen. I’ve been transferring photos to wood and canvas! I’m hooked and can’t do it enough.
4. Take technology breaks – Do things the old fashioned way – write letters, draw, tell stories together even get bored! But don’t touch that phone.
5. Cook together – You must live in the moment if you’re cooking. It’s very important to be very aware of the temperature, texture and taste. Kids love to cook and they tend to eat what they make. We recently dug up our own potatoes and make these amazing french fries. Some of my students thought that French fries just came from McDonalds!
6. Plan Random Acts of Kindness – To read about 30 random acts of kindness click here.
7. Have a Wonderful Bedtime Ritual – Don’t be in a hurry to get back to your TV show! Read, cuddle and spend time talking in the dark. This is one of my favorites mindfulness moments. Send your children to bed happy to have sweet dreams.
8. Have tools available – At school we have a cozy corner for kids to take a break. Inside are this glitter bottle and breathing ball. You shake the bottle and watch the glitter fall to the bottom. And just breathe with the breathing ball. It makes everyone feel better.
9. Lead by example – Even if you are constantly reliving the past or thinking in the future, take spend time with your kids in the present. You need to put your technology down as well. No phones allowed when you pick your kids up PLEASE! Those first 10 minutes are invaluable!
Mindfulness can benefit everyone! And you as the parent set the tone of your home!
Here are some books to read with your children:
And a very special book for you: (***I’ll be sending a copy of this book to one reader who leaves a comment that sums up why mindfulness is important!***)