Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the moment, and with all that’s going on, it is especially important to find ways to slow down. Science has shown that mindfulness can have a bunch of benefits for kids and grownups.
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Increases attention and focus
- Promotes positivity, kindness and empathy
- Strengthens self-control
- Develops problem-solving and decision-making skills
Basically, all the things we need right now. Mindfulness activities have made their way into many classrooms, and you can adopt some of the same practices home with the whole family!
Conscious breathing will help you and your kid(s) manage your feelings and shift your own mind-body state. Try one of these breathing activities!
- Inhale through your nose and pause
- Exhale out your nose and pause
- Breathe in for a count of three or four, pause for a count of one or two
- Breath out for a count of three or four, pause for a count of one or two
- Repeat a few times
- Breathe in deeply through your nose
- With your mouth closed, exhale slowly and make a snore noise in the back of your throat (like you’re whispering without opening your mouth). The noise you make will sound like the ocean or like Darth Vader!
- Repeat two more times
- Grab small stuffed animals for you and your kid(s)
- Lie down with your back on the floor
- Place the stuffed animals on your belly
- Tell your kid(s) to take three deep breaths in and out, trying to keep the stuffed animal from falling off
- Instruct them think about how their breathing buddy moves up and down
- Continue breathing for for three to five minutes
- If their minds wander, tell them to pop any thought bubbles that appear
- You can make this into a DIY by having your kids make their own breathing buddy!
These activities may be a good alternative for kids (and grownups) who struggle with still or silent mindful moments.
- Tell your kids to turn-on their “Spidey senses” (aka super focused senses of smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch)
- For 2-3 minutes ask your kid(s) questions like: What can they hear?; What can they see?; What can they taste?; What can they smell?; What can they feel?
- Try this during one of your meals!
Walk the Line
- Find an area in your house or outside where you and your kid(s) can take about 10-20 steps
- Using painter’s tape or chalk, make a straight line on the ground
- Take a few bear or ocean breaths together
- Have your child walk the line in slow motion, breathing in and out with every step
- As their mind wanders, the pace of their steps will change
- Gently guide them to back slow motion steps
- Rally up the troops for a walk
- Once outside, instruct your kid(s) to take a few deep breaths while turning on their spidey senses and encourage them to do this throughout the walk
- Silence isn’t necessary, but try to keep the conversion related to the sights and sounds around you
- If their minds start to wander, bring their attention back by asking questions about the scenery and what they’re noticing. You can also incorporate journaling into your walk!
Mindfulness DIYs & Games
Here are quick and easy ways to make mindfulness more fun!
Make your own pinwheels, and then use them to practice conscious breathing. Check out our DIY here: Paper Pinwheels
Find a small bag and place objects with different textures within it. Have your kid(s) reach inside to touch the objects one at a time, and ask them to describe what they feel.
Blind Taste Tests
Have your kid(s) close their eyes or use a blindfold to cover their eyes. Break apart small pieces of food and have them describe what they taste. Can they guess what they’re eating based on taste and texture alone?!
It’s easy to lose sight of what we’re thankful for. These activities will help you and your kids take notice of the small everyday details of your lives and serve as a reminder to appreciate the good.
Two to three times per week, have your kid(s) write down five things they feel grateful for. These things can be small or big (“I read my favorite book” or “My family is healthy”). This is a great activity for the whole family (grownups included). Check out this gratitude journal how-to for more detailed suggestions!
Upcycle an empty jar of pasta sauce and scrap pieces of paper to practice gratitude daily. Have the whole family write down one thing they are grateful for and pop it in the jar. This can be something as simple as, “I’m grateful for five more minutes of sleep.” At the end of the week, pull out the papers and have each family member read what each other is grateful for.
Gratitude Body Scan
Incorporate a body scan into your nightly routine to help you and your kid(s) bring awareness to every single part of your bodies. When you’re done, you can express gratitude for your health! This body scan how-to makes it easy to follow along, so the whole family can participate.