What is mindfulness for kids? The idea is to take all the stress-busting power of mindfulness, and make it engaging and fun for little ones. Easier said than done, right? Wrong! With these 5 easy mindfulness activities for kids from Team Snorble, you’ll soon have a happier, healthier, and calmer child.
Mindfulness Activity #1 - Learning about breath
One of the most basic ways to learn how to practice mindfulness for kids is to learn about breath. When we slow down and focus on our breathing, we not only send the body signals to calm down, but we also stop our minds racing and focus on the task at hand- in other words, we practice mindfulness!
Counting breaths or heartbeats is one of the simplest mindfulness activities for kids there is, and yet it’s remarkably effective as it both gives them something to do as well as engages their minds.
Mindfulness Activity #2 - Engage their senses through counting
Did you know that not all mindfulness is about sitting still? In fact, while it’s good to teach children self-calming activities around stillness and breath, it is counterproductive to expect them to only ever calm themselves like that. Counting-style exercises encourage the child to focus their attention, without making it obvious that that’s what’s happening.
Bring counting-style mindfulness into your child’s life through exercises like ‘the five senses’. Encourage them to identify five things they can see, four things they can touch, three they can hear, two they can smell, and one they can taste in their immediate environment. You could also teach them to count breaths, or imagine animals to count.
In case you hadn’t already noticed, this is why the old bedtime trick of ‘counting sheep’ was so effective, too! It was actually a mindfulness activity.
Mindfulness Activity #3 - Soothing through speaking ‘mantras’
As we’ve already mentioned, the principles of mindfulness are often introduced to us through exotic-sounding things like meditation, mantras, and yoga, but when you break them down they’re actually simple life principles we already use.
Historically, mantras are short chants, repeated over and over again, that help to focus the mind. You don’t just dash them off like a bored sports commentator! Instead, you think deeply, concentrate on saying them slowly and clearly, focusing on your speech. You can speak out loud, or in your head, the effect is the same.
You might have already noticed that this uses many of the same ideas as children's TV songs- simple phrases, easy to say, and focusing your child’s attention. Affirmations, which many adults use, are exactly the same, too
You don’t need exotic phrases to teach this style of mindfulness. Something as simple as, “I am an awesome person," "I believe in myself," or "My best is enough,” can be a mantra-based mindfulness exercise for kids.
Mindfulness Activity #4 - Encouraging body-awareness through yoga
Yoga has many benefits for mindfulness for kids. Again, we don’t want to jump straight into Ustrasana and Dhanurasana for 5-year-olds! But the idea of grounded stretches that slowly move through a patterned sequence that makes them think about what they’re doing- and distracts them from constant mind-chatter- is very valuable. Plus it helps keep them limber and fit too!
Many sports and health centers have parent-and-child yoga classes you can attend, and some have kids-only classes too. Snorble® has fun follow-along videos you can explore together, too
Mindfulness Activity #5 - Using meditation principles with kids
How is meditation different from mindfulness? It isn’t, really. We have a mental picture of people sitting quietly in a room, but that’s not the only way to meditate mindfully. The idea is to slowly focus on emptying the mind. Thoughts will come, but we let them go without engaging with them instead of getting stuck in negative thought loops.
This is a very useful thing for children to learn, as day-to-day society gets more and more stressful. Yet ‘empty your mind’ is barely accessible to adults, let alone active young kids! Many guided meditations for kids use storytelling techniques to make it engaging. You can also use visual aids like glitter jars, or walk them through exercises like tensing and relaxing muscles, to begin to teach these mindfulness principles.
Introduction to Snorble
Snorble is another tool in your mindfulness arsenal! They offer a variety of mindfulness activities, including meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga. Combined with a great bedtime routine, Snorble encourages your child to develop healthy habits that benefit them both day and night.