“We actually don’t want to get rid of the thoughts and feelings and urges. We just want them out of the way so they don’t prevent us from seeing clearly.”
Right now is the perfect time to practice some mindful exercises with your kids!
A helpful tip is to set a daily routine for practicing mindfulness to make sure you incorporate it. This could be a time before your child sits down to start his/her day or can be used during transitions.
Kids model after us. Make sure to do it with your child.
Here are 6 simple mindful practices that you can start.
Stand up and breathe. Feel your connection to the earth.
Tune in to your body. Lower your gaze. Scan your body and notice physical sensations or emotions. Discharge any unpleasant sensations, emotions or feelings on the out breath. Notice any pleasant ones and let them fill you up on the in breath.
Observe. Lift your eyes and take in your surroundings. Observe something in your environment that is pleasant and be grateful for it and its beauty.
Possibility. Ask yourself what is possible or what is new or what is a forward step
Connect with nature
Take a 5 minute nature walk in your neighborhood or backyard to breathe in fresh air and to change the setting. While you are out there, encourage your child to look around and take in the environment with his/her senses.
Sit up straight, breathe in, stick out your tongue, and breathe out like a dragon. This is great for younger children. It may seem silly at first but it’s a great way to bring deep breathing down to their level.
Use this technique to ground kids and young adults. Have your child look around his/her current surroundings and find five things he/she can see, four things he/she can touch, three things he/she can hear, two things he/she can smell, and one thing he/she can taste. By the time your child gets through listing all of those, they will be more present and calm.
The glitter jar is a great visual metaphor of our roller coaster of emotions and thoughts. Create a glitter jar using a mason jar, glycerin, and glitter. Have your child shake the jar and feel free to use these prompts:
So what is the one thing we can do to get the glitter to settle and see clearly again?
And what happens when we are still?
When things become clear, we’ll know the wise next thing to do. In fact, that’s one definition of wisdom: seeing things as they are and choosing how to act.
While we wait, does the glitter go away? No, it stays at the bottom. Our thoughts and feelings and urges are still in our minds, but they are no longer in our way, clouding our vision.
Decide on an aspiration. Just ask yourself this question: What is my heart’s aspiration? Pause for about 20 seconds. Do this a second or third time and write down what comes to you. Perhaps it is to come from love, or to be kind to yourself or others or to be patient.
These are just 6 simple ways to be mindful. Remember, there is no wrong way to do this. Set your tone and create a consistent schedule of practicing mindfulness for a few minutes every day with your child.
Remember, a little practice goes a long way.
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