At increasingly younger ages, kids are facing higher levels of stress, and it may be taking a significant toll on their health. Stressful events in childhood can increase the risk of developing health problems as an adult, but the impact may hit much earlier. A recent University of Florida study found that stressful events can impact a child’s health and well-being almost immediately, and can contribute to the development of physical and mental health problems and learning disabilities. Being mindful helps children to develop an awareness of what’s happening. It helps them listen to their bodies and better understand their thoughts and emotions and become more attuned to the world. Teaching empathy, compassion, and even meditation can be done even at an early age. This post will share with you simple ways to teach children mindfulness.
Benefits of Teaching Children Mindfulness
- Lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol
- Greater emotional stability
- Improved sleep quality
- Higher memory and reading comprehension scores
- Healthier body weight
- More compassionate towards others
Simple Ways to Teach Children Mindfulness
This is a great meditation tool for both adults and kids. ) I have a necklace and my kids have bracelets. They love choosing a mantra to meditate on or count their breaths. I like the idea of using mala bracelets for children because they are smaller and will allow them to learn how to sit quietly for an age appropriate amount of time. It takes a while to learn and it isn’t about perfection but I like to share the idea of spending time each day setting intentions, connecting with mind and body or just being in silence……okay semi-silence, for brief periods of time…..very brief! 🙂 But over time I do notice them becoming more attentive and aware. Set a timer and tell your child not to try to wait until the time roes off. Remember to start with small goals. 3-5 minutes is a reasonable time for a beginner.
Words and Thoughts have Energy!
This project is such a simple, yet powerful lesson to teach to children. We loved it! We did it as a homeschool science project and my kids learned so much about the affect our words and thoughts have on themselves and others. It was based of Dr. Emoto’s Water Experiment. If you are unfamiliar with him and his water experiment you need to watch this video. It’s AMAZING!
How we did the project is we cut a quarter of an apple in half and put each portion in it’s own, sealed plastic baggie. On a post-in we wrote negative, mean words and taped it to one baggie and on another post-in we wrote positive, nice words and taped it to the other baggie. We viewed the bags every day for 5 days. The results were pretty mind-blowing.
Here are the apples on Day one:
Here are the apples on Day Five:
By day 5 the “bad apple” was quickly deteriorating while the “good apple” only had a hint of brown. This project did a great job showing the example of the energy that surrounds our thoughts and words. Like energy attracts like energy. This experiment helps to show the importance of compassion and love towards ourselves and one another.
Other Simple Ways to Teach Children Mindfulness
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be a sedentary practice. Other ways to teach your children mindfulness is for you and your kids can take a nature walk in different environments, absorbing the experience with all your senses. What sounds do you hear? What sights do you see? What scents do you smell? What sensations do you feel? By simply being aware of yourself and the world around you children will be better equipped to handle life.
I also like to include books that deliver positive messages. Our favorites are written by world-renowned guru Wayne Dyer (LOVE HIM!) and are child versions of some of his popular adult books! You can find them on Amazon and they are a great way to introduce mindfulness and self-help to kids at a young age!
- Incredible You!: 10 Ways to Let Your Greatness Shine Through
- Unstoppable Me!: 10 Ways to Soar Through Life
- I Am!: Why Two Little Words Mean So Much
- No Excuses!: How What You Say Can Get in the Way