There are lots of advantages to teaching your child mindfulness. It’s a popular meditation technique which helps a person become more present in a moment, reducing stress, inspiring positivity, boosting concentration and creativity, and generally just aiding relaxation. Mindfulness involves paying attention to one’s thoughts and senses in any given moment. I have teamed up with an independent prep school in Surrey to discuss some ways to explore mindfulness with your child.
If your child is anxious or stressed about something, like their homework or a friendship issue, encourage them to practise mindful breathing. Ask them to lay down or sit in a comfortable chair, close their eyes and pay attention to every breath they take. Tell them to focus on the air as it goes in and out of their body, feeling their tummy move up and down as it does. Do this for a few minutes and then ask your child how they feel. If they still feel stressed, continue with the process. It should eventually help them relax.
Focussing on what’s happening in a particular moment, even if it’s something as simple as breathing, will help pull your child’s thoughts away from what is making them feel distressed.
As well as focussing on breathing, you should also encourage your child to consider their surroundings. Encourage them to tune into their senses; what can they hear, feel, smell, taste or see?
Bedtime is also a good opportunity to practise mindfulness and should help your child fall asleep more easily. Whilst they lay comfortably in their bed, ask them to observe each part of their body, from their feet to the top of their head. Ask them to think about what each body part feels like against the bed.
Practising these techniques with your child will help them develop a better sense of self-control and mental clarity, without judgement interpretation. As a result, they should be better able to tolerate stressful situations when they happen.