What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is slowing down, and paying attention to what you are doing. It is staying calm and focusing on one activity at a time. Being mindful is the opposite of rushing through something, or multi-tasking!
Practicing mindfulness is important in helping children pay attention better, be less distracted, stay calm under stress, be more patient and avoid getting frustrated when faced with a challenging task. These helpful skills can help them learn better both in school and at home.
How can I help my children practice Mindfulness?
It takes practice to be good at being mindful. While mindfulness can come naturally sometimes, there will be moments where you’ll need to put in conscious effort to be mindful. These moments will likely occur when you are feeling stressed, faced with challenging or multiple tasks, and when you need to focus your attention.
Here are 5 simple steps you can follow to help your children practice mindfulness. If you follow these steps together with your children, you will find that being mindful helps, not just for learning students, but with your daily life too!
1. Sit in a relaxed, and comfortable position. Ensure that your environment is not noisy, and not too hot or cold. Slow down and focus your attention on an action, such as by repeating a word in your head or on your breathing.
2. You can close your eyes and pay attention to either your breathing, or the word in your head. Pay attention with purpose, but not forced. Ensure that you are still relaxed, and not tensed.
3. Notice when your mind starts wandering - yes, that’s normal! Your mind can start wandering away from the word in your head or your breathing when you start thinking about other things, such as a funny joke, or about what to eat for dinner. That means that you are getting distracted, but that’s what our minds do!
4. When your mind starts to wander, bring your focus and attention back to the word in your head, or to your breathing again. Thats how you are consciously being mindful!
5. Remind your child to keep their breathing steady and slow, relaxed, and to pay attention to the word, or their breathing. Keep the practice session short at 1 minute, and slowly increase the sessions by 30 seconds each time your child is getting better at it!
You can slowly incorporate mindfulness practice sessions in your daily routine together, such as while taking a walk, or when you’re having a meal!