Children are more naturally in the present moment, but there can be a tendency for children to worry and get anxious about the future or things that have happened in the past. Change is a constant for many children and dealing with change can be challenging and being mindful and in the present can help children adapt.
Many of the mindfulness tips for children involve ways to encourage them to take longer slower breaths. This helps stimulate the relaxation response in the body and helps prevent panic attacks.
A main aim of teaching children to be mindful is to allow them to keep in touch with feelings and emotions without letting them overwhelm them. By feeling emotions and allowing them to flow, it is easier to let them go, and achieve a balanced state of mind.
It’s a good idea to teach these to all children, not just ones that you think may be sensitive to emotional upsets. Even the most resilient child can benefit from learning the value of being mindful when they are young. This will help navigate the teenage years when they come to sit exams and become exposed to social media and tricky friendship dynamics, all of which are normal bumps in the road for children.
Children tend to respond better to mindful activities rather than sitting in formal meditations. Here are some examples of activities that could be encouraged. It’s also important to reassure children that what they are feeling is very normal and very common so that they do not feel alone or as if they are different to others.
Mindfulness tips for Children
This can help slow breathing down so is good for calming excited or anxious children. You could encourage them to take time to sit and watch the bubbles float through the sky. This can also work well with windmills.
Blow out the candle
This is similar to blowing bubbles but can be done anywhere without the need for any bubbles! Ask the child to clasp their hands together and raise their two index fingers, holding them in front of their mouth. Ask them to take a long slow inhale and then ask them to imagine gently blowing a candle out.
This can help keep children still and to quieten their mind. Most children love colouring and love the idea of then being able to see their work being displayed somewhere. You could also make this the basis for a reward chart and add stickers to it. Download our free colouring charts here.
Create a mindfulness jar
Simply fill an old jam far with glitter and water and encourage the child to shake the jar then to watch the glitter settle at the bottom. It can be helpful to explain that this is often what goes on in our minds. Our mind can get all shaken up with lots of thoughts, and that when we sit still and watch these, it easier for them to settle down.
Make a worry box
It can help children to write down their concerns and to then post them into a worry box. This can help children verbalise their worries and to let them go by physically posting them into a box.