Most children (even adults) have trouble keeping focus for a sustained period of time. These activities not only lets you bond with your child, it also promotes mindfulness. Everyone can benefit from mindfulness. We can learn to be more aware of our thoughts, feelings, sensations and the environment around us. It helps us to refocus and come back to the present, rather than worrying about the past or the future.
Here are some simple ways to practise mindfulness with your little ones.
- Arts & Crafts
Besides tapping into their creativity & individuality, arts & crafts can help children to focus on one activity. This can be anything from colouring, doodling, card making, finger painting, DIY decor, DIY toys, origami, play dough, etc. The possibilities are endless!
You can get simple art materials from your local stationery store. Better yet, reuse or upcycle materials such as toilet paper rolls, straws or ice cream sticks to spread the eco friendly message. Provide simple instructions to guide them through but also leave lots of room for spontaneity. Tell them it is ok to make mistakes, just breathe and move on.
- Connecting with nature
There is nothing like spending time in the great outdoors, breathing in the cool, fresh air. Allow your child to disconnect from the concrete jungle and get in touch with the real jungle.
You can go hiking, have a picnic or even camp by the riverside. With the abundance of hiking & camping spots in Malaysia, you are sure to find one suitable for your child.
While you are out, encourage them to look around and take in the environment with their senses. Explain the importance of mother nature and how we should all be more mindful of how we treat it.
- Bake/cook a simple recipe
Baking or cooking with your child teaches them important skills and boosts their confidence on top of having great bonding time.
For picky eaters, the more they’re involved in making a recipe the more they are likely to try the end result. Preparing food also improves their literacy and numeracy skills. Get them to read the instructions or count as they measure out ingredients.
Cooking and baking allow kids to be more mindful about the process of cooking, food waste and serving others. Give praise and encourage them to explore their own creativity through food.
- Mindfulness 5-4-3-2-1
This is a fun and engaging activity not just for kids but for adults alike. This is especially great to help kids manage anxiety or anger. Have your kids look at their surroundings and write down five things they can see, four things they can touch, three things they can hear, two things they can smell and one thing they can taste.
This exercise allows them to stop and be aware of the present moment. By the time they get through the list, they will be more grounded and calm.
- Practice yoga & guided meditation
Yoga helps children focus while letting them move physically. You can find online tutorials for simple sequences that they can follow along or join a parent-child yoga class.
End the session with guided meditation. Have your child find a comfortable spot on the rug or yoga mat and lie down. Let them close their eyes and just breathe in and out. Read a guided meditation to help them visualise strolling down a white sandy beach or walking through lush green jungle. You can find one online or make it up yourself. Your child will be more present and relaxed after a few minutes.
These are simple routines to help your child focus, develop self control, become more self aware and just feel good about themselves. Try these activities out and see the results for yourself. Share with us other ways you practice mindfulness with your child in the comments below.