Every week, we have been sharing "Mindful Monday" tips on our Facebook and Instagram pages. The following is a summary of those posts for parents and caregivers looking to have these ideas in one place:
Mindfulness practices allow more presence in our lives and connection with the people around us. By following the tips and advice below, families and individuals can facilitate calm and resilience each day. Not only does mindfulness help regulate our emotions, but these practices can help decrease stress, anxiety and depression. This will also lead to better decision-making skills, emotion management, and living a more engaged and fulfilling life. The best part? These practices are easy and simple additions to our everyday lives.
In children, mindfulness can mitigate the effects of bullying, enhance focus in children, reduce attention problems, improve mental health and wellbeing, and improve social skills when taught and practiced with children and adolescents. Here are some activities that you can practice with your children:
1. Download Insight Timer App: This #1 free meditation app has guided meditations, music tracks from world-renowned artists and talks led by top mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, psychologists and teachers from top universities such as Harvard and Oxford. Learning meditation helps calm the mind, reduce anxiety, manage stress, sleep better, and improve happiness!
2. Watch Flow videos on GoNoodle: Flow is a channel on GoNoodle, a website that gets kids moving with short, interactive activities. Flow videos teach kids mindfulness exercise!
3. Create a “Mindful Glitter Jar”:
This activity is great for teaching kids about how strong their emotions can be and how their emotions cloud their thoughts. It also facilitates the practice of mindfulness by focusing on the swirling glitter in the jar.
1. Get a clear jar, such as a mason jar, and fill it almost all the way with water.
2. Add a big spoonful of glitter glue or glue with dry glitter to the jar.
3. Put the lid back on the jar and shake it to make the glitter swirl.
4. Explain to kids: “Imagine that the glitter is like your thoughts when you’re stressed, mad or upset. See how they whirl around and make it really hard to see clearly? That’s why it’s so easy to make silly decisions when you’re upset- because you’re not thinking clearly. Don’t worry, this is normal and it happens in all of us (yep, grownups too).
5. Now put the jar down in front of them.
4. Download and print some mindful coloring pages or buy a mindful coloring book: When coloring, children shift their focus onto concentrating on their picture and the finished product. Coloring is a peaceful activity that has a therapeutic and calming effect on children. It can be an outlet for processing emotions and distracting them from challenging situations. By focusing on a simple activity that has a predictable outcome, anxious children are able to relax and live in the moment.
5.Breathe with a Pinwheel Activity: 1. Grab two pinwheels- one for yourself and one for your child.
2. Sit with your backs straight and bodies relaxed.
3. Blow on your pinwheels together using long, deep breaths, Notice how you feel - calm and relaxed? Having trouble sitting still?
4. Next, blow on your pinwheels with short, quick breaths. Notice how you feel again- do you feel the same as you did with the long, deep breaths?
5. Think about the different types of breathing you engaged in, and discuss how the different breaths made you feel.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.