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How Do You Practice Mindfulness?

How do you practice mindfulness? As a professional who works with kids, I’ve seen firsthand the power of mindfulness in shaping young minds. Children face a whirlwind of emotions daily, whether it’s a tantrum over a toppled tower of blocks or anxiety about a looming math test. Mindfulness, the art of staying present and focused, can be a game-changer in managing these emotional roller coasters. We’ll explore techniques suitable for all children, including those who are neurodivergent, and discuss how these methods can foster resilience, emotional intelligence, and a positive mindset. So, are you ready to transform your child’s world with the power of mindfulness? Let’s get started.

Breathing Exercises: The Foundation of Mindfulness

When I’m asked, “How do you practice mindfulness?” my first response is always, “Start with the breath.” I’ve found that breathing exercises are an accessible and effective way to introduce mindfulness to kids. I often encourage parents to guide their kids to place a hand on their tummy, feeling it rise and fall with each breath. Focusing on the breath can help anchor the mind in the present moment, reducing anxiety and promoting calmness.

What’s great about breathing exercises is that they can be done anywhere, anytime — during a car ride, before bedtime, or in a stressful situation. The key is consistency. The more you and your kids practice mindful breathing, the more natural it becomes.

Meditation

In my practice, I’ve seen how meditation can be a powerful tool for practicing mindfulness. It helps anchor emotions in the present moment, allowing kids to better manage their feelings. For instance, a simple guided meditation could involve focusing on the sensation of sitting, the feel of the breath, or the sounds in the room.

how do you practice mindfulness. 2 kids are doing meditation with their mom.
Read more: 3 Examples of Loving Kindness Meditation

Remember, meditation doesn’t have to be long. Even a few minutes each day can make a significant difference. And for our neurodivergent kids, meditation can provide a much-needed break from the sensory overload they often experience.

Mindful Eating

When I talk about mindful eating, I’m not just referring to the food on the plate. It’s about experiencing the entire process of eating with all your senses. Encourage your kids to appreciate the bright colors of vegetables, the warmth of a bowl of soup, or the natural sweetness of an apple. This practice can help foster a healthier relationship with food and promote better eating habits.

Plus, mindful eating can be fun and engaging for the whole family. You can even turn it into a game, asking your kids to describe their food’s flavors, textures, and smells.

Body Scan

A body scan is one of the most effective ways to begin a mindfulness meditation practice. The purpose is to tune in to your Body and notice any sensations you’re feeling without judgment. It’s about fostering a deeper connection with your Body and understanding how emotions can manifest physically.

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For example, you can guide your kids to focus on each part of their Body, starting from the toes and moving up to the head. Please encourage them to notice tension, discomfort, or relaxation in each area. This practice can be particularly beneficial for kids with special needs, helping them gain better control over their bodily responses.

Mindful Movement

Mindful movement offers an opportunity to practice mindfulness of the Body in motion. Gentle stretches and yoga postures, guided by a clinician, can help kids focus on their Body’s movements and how they feel in each position.

Not only does this practice promote mindfulness, but it also improves flexibility, strength, and coordination. And let’s not forget, it’s a great way for kids to burn off some energy!

Journaling

Journaling is a powerful tool for mindfulness. It helps kids stay aware of what’s happening in their lives, from their environment to their thoughts. By putting pen to paper, they can gain a better understanding of their emotions and reactions.

Encourage your kids to write about their day, feelings, or anything else that comes to mind. The goal is not to create a literary masterpiece but to express themselves openly and honestly.

how do you practice mindfulness. 3 kids are journaling on a bed.
Read more: 5 Emotional Regulation Activities for Kids

Gratitude

Gratitude is at the heart of mindfulness. It’s about appreciating the good in our lives and recognizing the beauty in the ordinary. Encourage your kids to think of three things they’re grateful for daily. It could be as simple as a warm bed, a favorite toy, or a hug from a friend.

Practicing gratitude can help shift the focus from what’s wrong to what’s right, promoting positivity and resilience. Plus, it’s a habit that can serve your kids well into adulthood.

Mindful Walk

A mindful walk is a form of mindfulness meditation that you can do without setting aside specific time for it. It’s about fully experiencing the act of walking — the sensation of your feet touching the ground, the rhythm of your breath, the sights and sounds around you.

Encourage them to tune in to these sensations Next time you’re out for a walk with your kids. It’s a simple yet effective way to practice mindfulness amid a busy day.

Other Ways to Practice Mindfulness

There are countless other ways to practice mindfulness. Observing your breathing, going for a nature walk, taking mini breaks throughout the day, avoiding multitasking, and checking out mindfulness apps are just a few examples. The key is to find what works best for you and your kids and to make mindfulness a regular part of your daily routine.

Tired of Emotional Meltdowns?

Goally’s Mood Tuner app has activities for kids with BIG emotions. Teach kids how to tune their mood with Goally. See fewer meltdowns.

The Mood Tuner app encourages kids to look inwards and identify their feelings, helping them understand what’s going on inside. Once they’ve recognized their emotions, they can choose from a 20+ activities designed to help them self-regulate and find their balance.

Goally tablet showing Mood Tuner, the emotional regulation app for kids to help them manage big emotions.

Remember, mindfulness is not about achieving a state of eternal bliss. It’s about being present, accepting things as they are, and dealing with life’s challenges in a more balanced way. And that, my dear parents, is a gift worth giving to our kids.

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Emily is a seasoned blog writer for Goally, leveraging her extensive background in child psychology and special education to provide valuable insights and resources for parents. Her commitment to understanding and addressing the unique needs of these children, combined with her expertise in educational strategies, makes her a credible and empathetic voice for families.