Decreased anxiety. Improved attention. Stronger relationships. Practicing mindfulness can be of benefit to the whole family, so here are our top tips to bring your attention back to the present.
Go for a listening walk – when you’re walking with your child, ask them what they can hear and encourage them to describe the sounds, and how they make them feel.
Take a brain break – whether it’s in the middle of homework time, or in between activities, remind your children to pause for three to five minutes, taking deep breaths to re-focus on what they are about to do.
Practice together – set a good example and build mindfulness into your daily routine. Spending just a few minutes each day sitting together, closing your eyes and being present will benefit the whole family.
Explore your senses – maybe you’re stuck in traffic on the school run or waiting for a doctor’s appointment – take advantage of these enforced pauses to notice your surroundings. Ask your child to tune into all five of their senses and share what you notice with each other.
Build a mindful bedtime routine – this is a great time for children to return to the body and calm down at the end of the day. You can help guide them by gently asking them to focus first on their toes, then their feet, working all the way up the body.
Tap into extra resources – there’s an increasing number of apps, online exercises and CD guides to help children achieve mindfulness. Or if your child is really enjoying the experience, you could even consider a short course or retreat together.
Don’t push – part of mindfulness practice is letting go of outcomes. So if your child isn’t engaging, don’t force it. Just try again another day, perhaps focusing on a different sense this time.
The good news is that mindfulness is taking off in schools too. Read this month’s news article to find out more, or head over to our interview with mindfulness teacher Mary-Louise for more tips on creating a mindful home.