Mindfulness Activities for Kids and Families
I think most young kids are pretty great at mindfulness, and we might learn from them a lot! 🙂
I remember when we had those never-ending walks to the nearby bakery… which would have been literally 2 minutes far at an adult’s pace 😅
But as we needed to check all the little bugs on the way, and collect the 10th stone and stick that morning, I really felt it took forever to get there… but you know what? I miss those walks!
I miss those “lazy” mornings when I could focus with my Little One on the wonders around us – especially when I managed to force myself to forget about the laundry, cooking, and all the “more important” things to deal with 😅
Mindfulness is something we should all try to practice day by day, and there are some activities for kids and families that can help us to be more present and have more quality time alone and together as well!
What is Mindfulness
According to the American Psychological Association, “Mindfulness is awareness of one’s internal states and surroundings. Mindfulness can help people avoid destructive or automatic habits and responses by learning to observe their thoughts, emotions, and other present-moment experiences without judging or reacting to them.”
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully aware and accepting of what is happening in each moment without judgment or attachment.
It’s a mental state that allows you to experience life as it unfolds, rather than judging or dwelling on what happened in the past or worrying about what might happen in the future.
It’s a way of living that allows you to be in the moment and enjoy it for what it is.
Mindfulness can also be considered an active form of meditation where you focus on your breathing, body sensations, and thoughts without judgment or interpretation.
For example, if someone cuts you off in traffic, instead of getting angry and thinking about how rude or inconsiderate the other person was, mindfulness would allow you to notice your feelings but not attach to them. You might feel anger or frustration at first, but then let go of those emotions and focus on what matters most: arriving safely at your destination.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness and abundance are beneficial in many ways. It helps to reduce stress, improves overall health and well-being, and can even help you sleep better.
Some of the most common benefits of mindfulness include:
- Reduced stress levels
- Improved focus and concentration
- Better sleep quality
- More positive emotions
- Greater self-awareness
Benefits of Mindfulness for Children and Adolescents
Mindfulness can also be beneficial for children.
It can help them to cope with anxiety and stress, prevent emotional eating, improve their social skills, and encourage them to focus on what they want rather than what others expect from them.
The practice of mindfulness has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as inattentiveness and impulsivity.
Mindfulness can also help children to be more present in the moment and make better decisions.
For example, if a child is feeling angry or upset about something that happened at school, mindfulness can help him to focus on breathing deeply and calming down before he acts on his emotions.
The practice of mindfulness can also help children to improve their focus and concentration, which can be beneficial in school. It has been shown that mindfulness training can improve a child’s ability to manage their emotions, communicate effectively with others, handle stress more effectively, and develop resilience.
Mindfulness can also help children and adolescents deal with anxiety, depression, stress, and low self-esteem.
Further benefits for Children and Adolescents Include:
- Improved emotional regulation;
- Reduced stress levels;
- Improved focus and concentration;
- Better sleep quality;
- It can also help children to develop better relationships with their parents and peers.
Mindfulness is a skill that can be learned and developed with practice, and it is not as difficult as it may seem at first. There are many ways to introduce mindfulness into your life, both for your kids and the whole family.
What are some mindfulness activities?
There are many ways for children to practice mindfulness. Actually, I think young kids are doing many of these intuitively. But for elder ones, it is a great option to include some of these mindfulness activities in their daily schedule on purpose!
Here are a few ideas:
Appreciate everyday sights and sounds.
- Go on a nature walk and look for things that are green, blue, or brown.
- Listen to birdsong and try to identify different types of birds.
- Go for a run in the park, listening to music as you go.
- Listen to music and try to guess what instruments are being played.
Have a “mini-meditation” each day.
- Look at clouds and make-up stories about what they might be doing in their lives.
- Sit still and breathe deeply for a few minutes.
- Take time out to sit quietly and meditate.
- Practice belly breathing.
- Watch a mobile hanging from the ceiling and notice how it moves when the air blows through it.
Sit down to eat breakfast like a grown-up.
- Enjoy a mindful snack
Notice and name body sensations, thoughts, and emotions.
- Count how many times you blink in a minute, then try to slow down and make it last longer.
- Go for a swim and notice how the water feels on your skin.
- Practice gratitude.
Stop multitasking and just create something.
- Make a painting of the sky.
- Draw pictures of what you would like to see in your mind’s eye.
- Make a collage of all the things that make you happy.
- Get a friend to draw pictures of their favorite things, then try to guess what they are before looking at them.
- Draw a picture of something that makes you feel happy (like your favorite animal or superhero).
- Write a journal with prompts.
- Make your own stress ball.
How to include mindfulness activities in the daily routine?
I would say being aware of the importance of mindfulness activities takes you already halfway to implementing them. 😊
Each family and every single kid is different – and according to my observations they also change with time, so flexibility and awareness are the two key factors.
Check your regular daily routine, let’s say if the weather is nice you might add a mindful walk (to the bakery for example 😅) to your mornings. Go to a nearby park, or natural area if you have the chance, or plan some excursions for the weekend. Enjoy together the colors and sounds of nature. As my Daughter is getting older, I realize she knows a lot about different plants and animals… it is so great to chat about what we experience during our little trips.
Try having enough time for (at least some of) your meals, enjoy the taste of the food, and have a nice discussion with your loved ones.
You can also show your kids how to have a mini meditation after lunch, stay still a bit, practice belly breathing, and relax…
These are just examples, but you can see that without any big changes, you can include some mindfulness activities in your everyday life easily 😊
For elder kids, it is also useful to teach some technics that they can use in school or in stressful situations to be able to calm themselves down or face their fears…
We love reading, and I really liked the “Gaston Little Unicorn” books from Aurélie Chien Chow Chine. It was our local librarian who suggested checking them, and they turned out to be so great that I bought most of the books from the series. These little stories help kindergarten and preschool kids to become aware of their emotions and also provide some easy strategies to face them when needed.
Practicing gratitude is also a great way to include more mindfulness activities in your daily life. Talking about the best things of the day, using prompts, and having a gratitude journal can be useful for children of all ages. Younger ones can draw, and elder kids can try to explain themselves with their own written words.
You might use a blank booklet and write some prompts to guide them, or buy pre-made gratitude journals or journal pages designed especially for children!
Kids’ daily gratitude journals are available as digital downloads on Etsy, you can print them at home and let your Little Ones start journaling today 🙂
Including mindfulness activities in your daily routine is beneficial for the whole family!