Mindfulness for Children

Let’s talk Mindfulness.

We spend a lot of our time talking about the best things you can do for your little one’s body so today we’re going to switch up our focus and talk about what you can do for their brains. Mental Health is just as important as physical health, especially considering one in ten children in Ireland suffer from mental health problems ranging from anxiety, depression, and conduct disorders.

There are many things you can do to help your children with their mental well-being – Bernardos have a terrific list of activities for both parents and children that allow them to check in with the Heart, Body, and Mind. But today, we’re going to focus on mindfulness.

So, the big question: what is mindfulness?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. It usually involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind. 

Now, Mindfulness may sound like the latest buzzword floating around the interwebs but trust us, the science is sound. If it wasn’t top corporations wouldn’t be spending a fortune to host mindfulness training and schools all around the world wouldn’t have initiated programs to get mindful activities for kids into the classrooms.

So, what does mindfulness do? In a nutshell, it can help minimize anxiety and increase happiness. It can also:

  • Strengthen self-control
  • Lower stress
  • Increase positive moods
  • Improve decision making
  • Improve emotional regulation skills
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Improve health and body image
  • Improve social skills and communication

That certainly sounds good to us! So, how do we practice mindfulness? We’ve compiled a shortlist of activities you can try with your little ones at home. Check them out!

  1. Practice kind thought. Ask your child to think of three people they’d like to send kind wishes to.
  2. Squeeze and let go. Tense different muscles in the body for five seconds and then slowly release.
  3. Have a mindful snack. Describe the smell, texture, and taste of the food.
  4. Take a mindful walk. Point out the sights and sounds along the way.
  5. Try guided meditation at bedtime. There are lots of mindful apps out there – some, especially for children.
  6. Blow slow-mo bubbles. Concentrate on taking a big, deep breath in through the nose to fill the bubble and out through the mouth as slowly as possible.
  7. Colour your feelings together – give each emotion a new colour.
  8. Soak in the Good – During a happy moment, pause with your child to observe the pleasant physical and emotional feelings.
  9. Listen to music and see how many different instruments you can each hear.
  10. Explore gratitude! Go back and forth for as long as you can with your little one to name as many things as possible that you are grateful for.

We hope you find these tips helpful! Good luck on your new mindful journey.

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