MINDFULNESS ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
Have you ever closely watched a child while playing? Surely yes. Well then, when a little one indulges in playful activity in body and soul, time flies. It flows and becomes eternal and ephemeral at the same time. This is because he is 100% involved in that task or activity. Mindfulness for children can do a lot so that our children or students do not lose that ability to connect with the here and now. Simply because living in the present time (neither in the past nor in the future) brings greater well-being.
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS FOR CHILDREN?
Mindfulness, also known as full attention or full consciousness, is a practice to exercise the mind and be able to enjoy living in the moment. The objective of this practice is to get us to pay more attention to what happens to us and to know how to manage it properly.
This activity has nothing to do with a “mind blank,” a state of consciousness that is impossible to reach. It is associated with a way of accepting thoughts, both positive and not-so-positive, and consciously deciding what we want to focus on. Children are used to it: they play with their dolls and forget about the world or watch a movie and seem immersed in what is happening on the screen… However, the stress of the adults around them sometimes leads them to lose their essence. This is how many live in a hurry without focusing on what they do, think, or feel.
Mindfulness is, in short, a way of being in the world. Being here and now helps to focus attention on a present experience. It contributes, among other things, to keep emotions in line with the body. Of course: for this, it is necessary to listen to the bodily signals and make the most of the information provided by the five senses. And this can also be applied to the little ones by incorporating mindfulness activities for children.
WHAT CAN MINDFULNESS DO FOR LITTLE ONES?
Mindfulness for children brings multiple benefits to the physical and emotional health of children. In principle, it is the mental training that allows them to improve their way of learning. This is possible since it increases your ability to concentrate on what is important, memorize, and pay attention to details.
Meditation also provides the same therapeutic effects as praying and turns children into much more empathetic beings. Likewise, they will also be better able to tolerate frustration and accept reality as it is. On an emotional level, it increases your self-esteem and improves your self-concept. As if this were not enough, it strengthens the immune system and makes it less vulnerable to viruses, bacteria, and opportunistic diseases. As you can see, there are many benefits of mindfulness in childhood. But how can we apply it in our day to day? Keep reading!
MINDFULNESS IN EDUCATIONAL CENTERS
Applying a mindfulness program for children brings multiple benefits. As has been verified in several investigations, meditation can be very useful in improving disorders such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder). A disorder that affects between 2% and 5% of the child population.
In the educational field, it has been observed that mindfulness can improve academic performance and relationships between children. In addition, it helps to reduce aggressive and violent behaviors that occur in childhood.
At the national level, several mindfulness programs that are applied in the classroom today are known. One of them is the Aulas Felices Program, in which mindfulness is worked on to promote emotional development. Another is the Full Emotional Intelligence Training Program (PINEP), which uses meditation in children to work on values such as empathy, attention, and concentration in childhood and adolescence. On the other hand, there is also the TREVA program (Experiential Relaxation Techniques Applied to the Classroom). This enhances the feeling of peace and calm in students while promoting a good atmosphere in the classroom, which also increases their academic performance.
EXAMPLES OF MINDFULNESS ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN
There are an infinite number of techniques to bring children closer to the practice of full attention. These are just some of the proposals that we give you to apply mindfulness to children in everyday life.
Savor the food
In general, children and adults eat too fast; almost mechanically. They chew, swallow, and move on to another plate or something else. If the good habit of tasting food can be incorporated into the family table, this will contribute to living moment by moment. Playing to discover the ingredients or spending more time chewing also helps to be present at lunch or dinner time. And not with your head elsewhere.
Breathe, just breathe
In moments of nervousness, teach your children to pay attention to their breathing. Yes, as simple as that. Before an exam, in the waiting room at the dentist’s office, or on the way to the hospital, have her connect with her breathing. “Inhale, exhale”… Like this, several times. This will reduce tension and anxiety and allow you to live fully in the situations that stress you.
The game of silence
At certain times of the day, after some active or exciting activity (singing, dancing, playing in the park, or swimming in the pool). It consists of looking at an hourglass and remaining silent for a minute or a minute and a half. It is a way to pause. Silence is the challenge. And kids love challenges!
Contact with nature
Hug a tree, smell the earth after a storm or walk barefoot on the grass. These are effective ways to connect with the present moment and enjoy the little things in life. That’s what mindfulness is about.
Another mindfulness exercise proposal for children is to teach them to manage their emotions. One way to get them started on this healthy habit is to help them notice when they are anxious, angry, and nervous, for example. That is, to discern between the different emotions that inhabit them. And for those moments when emotions overwhelm them, provide them with tools. Sitting or lying down with the hands facing each other joined at the tips of the fingers is an exercise that attracts tranquility.
Initiate them into meditation
After lunch or before bed, ask your little ones to sit cross-legged, back straight, hands on knees. Liven up the moment with special music to meditate or do yoga. Guide your thoughts through a visualization (such as “Think you are walking in the middle of a forest…”). It’s a way to habituate your brain to mindfulness practice. You will see how those 5 or 10 minutes of calm and connection will translate into moments of harmony later and, surely, a good habit.
Mindfulness for children helps them enjoy the present and focus their attention on the things they do here and now. To play when you have to play, to stay still when it is necessary, and to rest when it is time to do it. What seems obvious is not in a world that moves at full speed. In this sense, the practice of mindfulness can do a lot for future generations.
We apply all these practices in Mutendi Montessori and you can enroll your child in Mutendi Montessori to give him an environment where he can experience mindfulness.