9 Ways To Raise A Mindful Child

Children are naturals at mindfulness

Children are naturals at mindfulness

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” – Henry Miller

“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.

Who's looking at who?  A perfect outdoor mindfulness moment!

Who’s looking at who? A perfect outdoor mindfulness moment!

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.

My latest photo transferred to canvas called Venice Coffee.

My latest photo transferred to canvas called Venice Coffee.

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!

Homemade French Fries right dug up from the garden.

Homemade French Fries right dug up from the garden.

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.

Our Preschool breathing ball

Our Preschool breathing ball

Our Glitter Bottle

Our Glitter Bottle

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!***)

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12 Responses to 9 Ways To Raise A Mindful Child

  1. Vidya Sury says:

    Very sweet, Betsy. Pre-schoolers can actually teach us about mindfulness in the most delightful way. I love the strategies you’ve listed. I could just visualize them happening. Hugs! How’ve you been? Long time no connect!

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Vidya,
    So glad you enjoyed!! Yes, I’m very lucky that my job is with preschoolers every day. They teach me something daily. It’s a gift.

    I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see your name here!
    Hope you’re well!!
    xoxo

    [Reply]

  2. Alice Bush says:

    Frogs are fabulous and all bits of nature. My kids and I would catch critters, bugs of all sorts, snakes, we planted gardens and they had their own patch and loved picking beans and tomatoes and eating them fresh from the vine. We did forts, played in the mud and they made all kinds of fun stuff from clay. As we all aged tv and electronics got in the way. I am now reading Loving What Is by Byron Katie and other books trying to figure out how to ignite that positive energy again and so I go on hikes. As our kids get older and as we do the anxiety seems to resurface with care of aging parents and academics and economic worries. Getting my college kids to take time in nature is a struggle as they are so crazy busy. Even I feel I can’t get enough of nature. My mom has late stages of Alzheimer’s and when we go outside I can just see her relax and smile inside. Visiting children have that same effect so take the preschoolers to see my mom please at Sunrise!! The caretakers sometimes bring their kids. Our need for nature never ends.

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Alice,
    What wonderful things you did with your kids! I couldn’t agree more about frogs by the way. And I feel the same about nature… I just can’t get enough! I worked very hard as my kids were growing to keep the electronics out of our lives. During the teenage years it was very difficult but as they become adults I’ve noticed that they’re not as interested as their friends in video games or staying inside. They’d much rather play music, hike, ski, go to museums etc. than be attached to their phones. So it’s good to see that all that paid off. I’ll keep that in mind about visiting your mom! Children are a wonderful tonic for older people!
    Thanks for your comment!! xoxo

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  3. Angela Bissett says:

    I absolutely love this article! This is such a great reminder not only for our kids but ourselves!!!! We get so busy in this digital age that getting back to the basics are so important. When we do this, we feel so much better! I have taken notes and will be incorporating some of these ideas into our “everyday routine”. In fact we are on our way to the craft store now!

    Thank you Betsy!

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Angela,
    So glad you enjoyed. I’m constantly reminding myself about how to keep mindful and not get caught up in the busyness of life. And I agree…we feel so much better after that. Can’t wait to see what your very creative kids (and you) come up with at the craft store. Keep doing what you’re doing because it’s obviously working!!
    xoxo

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  4. Holly says:

    Love and look forward to your articles!
    As for your question I can answer based on my own interpretation. Which I am not the most experienced yet being in a state of mindfulness but I actively try daily.

    Mindfulness is so important as it literally takes me out of my busy head and puts me in the moment of reality. It makes you take a second and uses your mind to focus on the moment, the scene, the smell, the touch and the place in time. It pushes my anxiety and worry away even for a brief time as I maintain focus on the moment. It makes me feel lighter as I engage with the present moment. Mindfulness helps me slow down and process, not overact, not overthink and not drift to issues in the past/future. For within the moments of practicing mindfulness I feel in control and without worry and I accept how things are at the present time. And that life is working with me and not against me as I surrender and just be.

    Sounds a little tacky and I am not always able to stay mindful, but when I do you just feel more peaceful and kind.

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Holly,
    Not tacky at all!! I love what you said… “it makes me feel lighter as I engage with the present moment”. And also
    “And that life is working with me and not against me as I surrender and just be”. Perfectly put! I may have to quote you on that!! There is so much anxiety in this world of ours and I agree that even if it’s a short time, mindfulness can take away the worry. Do you have kids that you use mindfulness with as well?
    Thanks so much for your wonderful comment!
    xoxo

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  5. So many lovely ideas in your article! It’s so easy to rush from day to day and not realise how time is slipping away. Now my three children are all grown, I often wish I’d given them more time to simply appreciate being in the present moment. We always seemed to be in a rush and I regret that now. However, I’m relieved that when we talk about their childhood, they have many happy memories e.g. bedtime stories, nature walks etc. But the joy of having grandchildren means I get to do things differently this time around, and when they come to stay I concentrate on making memories rather than rushing about ‘doing things’.

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Elizabeth,
    Isn’t it the truth! My three are pretty much grown up, too. The times I treasure are the small stuff when we were immersed in mindfulness (although I didn’t know the word back then). My children also remember their childhood that way. I look forward to being with my yet to come grandchildren for just the same reason!! In the meantime I’m practicing at my preschool! 🙂

    Thanks for your comment Elizabeth and I’ll check out Fabulous Families! Love the name!!
    xoxo

    [Reply]

  6. Elly says:

    Mindfulness is being!

    [Reply]

    Betsy Reply:

    Elly,
    Simply and perfectly put!! I may quote you!!
    xoxo

    [Reply]

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