This guest post was written by the team at Standard Dose, a marketplace dedicated to elevating wellness through mindful practices and carefully-vetted products.
From easing anxiety and promoting happiness to increasing focus, mindfulness is a powerful tool with many benefits. This practice can help us navigate the challenges that arise with each stage of life, and can be especially helpful for children when it comes to managing feelings and emotions.
Wondering how to best model mindfulness for your children? Here are 5 ways you can introduce this powerful practice.
With endless notifications and distractions, it’s easy to find yourself multitasking. Cooking dinner while answering emails, sending off a text while prepping for a presentation: our modern age presents countless ways to split our attention.
While it’s not always possible to focus on one task at a time, creating space to be present is a wonderful way to model mindfulness for your little ones. Consider setting aside specific time to spend with family, away from the temptations and to-dos of technology. Maybe you put away your phone and computer after work is done for the day, and make a point to have dinner in a “technology-free zone.” Try practicing mindful eating, and encourage your children to eat slowly, noticing the way their food looks and tastes. As they get older, you can even bring your children into the cooking process, allowing them to explore different ingredients and build appreciation for each meal.
Mindfulness is all about bringing your attention to the present moment, and gratitude can help us notice and appreciate the joy in our lives. After school, or at the end of the day, share three things you’re grateful for with your children, and ask them to share one or two good things as well. This could be everything from a favorite toy, to something positive that happened that day. Whatever your children express gratitude for, this practice can help them develop a positive mindset, and better manage challenging emotions as they arise.
You can even consider creating a “gratitude jar,” and adding a note to it each day with a list of what each family member is grateful for. Every so often, you can go through some of the notes with your children, to remind them of all the things you’ve been grateful for as a family.
Although your children may be too young to understand the act and benefits of meditation, teaching them to tune into the breath doesn’t have to be complicated. Start by engaging in the practice yourself, and, then, simply take a few moments each day to sit with your children. Encourage them to take a few deep breaths, observing how they feel when they breathe in and out.
As your children get older, you can increase the length of time spent observing the breath, even trying 10 minute meditation recordings. Regardless of how much time you and your children spend meditating, even a few minutes a day can have an impact, helping you and your children learn to navigate stress and return to balance.
A wonderful way to let go of distractions and tune into the present moment is to go on nature walks. Spending time outdoors has been scientifically-proven to reduce stress, as phytoncides, the aromatic oils that trees and plants release, decrease the levels of stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline in our bodies. As you begin walking, explore the senses, taking time to notice the different plants and animals, and bringing attention to each step. Encourage your children to take in their surroundings, and ask them what they see, small, and hear during each walk.
An intentional bedtime routine is a great way to practice mindfulness and help children calm their bodies and minds before bed. A good night’s sleep leads to improved attention, learning, and memory, while boosting mental and physical health. With this routine, aim for consistency: both in the ritual itself and with the bedtime. Stay away from screens, read a book together, use dim lighting, and consider bringing meditation or a breathing exercise to this ritual as well.
Whether you engage in all of these mindfulness techniques, or just a few, rest assured knowing you’re teaching your child a powerful way to connect with themselves and the world around them.
Looking for more like this? Visit standarddose.com to discover wellness products and experiences for the whole family. You can also check out our blog, The Drop, for authentic stories, mindful practices for self-healing, and the answers to your questions about the latest trends.