Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally bringing awareness to the present moment so we can choose our response to what is happening. It is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared, or angry during change and uncertainty. Studies show that the ways we intentionally shape our internal focus of attention during a mindfulness exercise induces a state of brain activation while we’re doing it and research confirms that mindfulness can improve mental health by aiding well-being, attention, self-regulation and social competency. Benefits to practicing mindfulness not only impact brain function, but may result in more happiness, productivity, and the ability to be patient.
During this time of uncertainty these practices can help kids to calm down and become more aware of their moods and thoughts. It’s helpful as they transition through different parts of the day and if they face chaotic situations. Plus, it’s a great way to prepare them to emotionally and mentally be ready to learn.
Here are some kid-friendly mindfulness activities you can do throughout the day:
Morning: Just Breathe, but with kindness
This is a one-to-one activity, so pair up with your kid (or if you have more than one child, pair them up). As you face each other, first take a deep breath in, then out, before making kindness wishes. First say a kindness wish for yourself, something like asking for patience, courage, peace, or hope. Then say a kindness wish to your kid. Reverse, so your kid can do the same for you. Finally, together make kindness wishes for your community, the situation we’re in right now, and the world. End by taking a deep breath in and a deep breath out.
Mid-Day: Walk in Silence
Go outside, but try not to talk. As you walk around, listen intently to the sounds you hear. The purpose? This activity encourages kids to tap into their sense of hearing and attuned to the environment around them through listening. Ask each kid to describe 3 different sounds they notice. Take along some paper and pencils to create maps and mark where the sounds were heard. You might repeat this exercise tomorrow to listen for the same sounds in the same places.
Evening: Toss a Ball with Intention
Consider this a slower version of the game, hot potato. Sit in a circle and toss a ball. Ask the person who catches the ball one of these questions. When they toss it, they can ask the same question or a different one. What other questions would you add to this list?
- Who inspires you?
- What made you smile today?
- What’s something positive you did today?
- What do you love about yourself?