The Super Power of Mindfulness…
Practicing mindfulness activities from an early age can be of huge benefit to children (and their parents!). Habits formed when young will inform behaviours as they navigate the transition from childhood to adolescence and on to adulthood. With mindfulness, we can nurture great habits in kids, such as practicing being peaceful, kind and accepting whilst also offering relief from anxiety and learning how to work with difficult emotions.
The power of mindfulness is very effective in children as their brains and bodies are still developing. Connections in the prefrontal circuits of the brain are created at their fastest rate during early years, so it’s a perfect time to develop skills such as focusing attention on the present moment, accepting emotions and using the breath as a calming tool. When we practice bringing awareness to the here and now, we are learning to live in the moment rather than allowing ourselves to ruminate about the future or past. Every time we practice this (kids and adults alike), we are giving our brain a great workout.
Here are some exercises to do with your children- and there are more in the printables below!
Be a Cool Cat
Ask your kid to guess the top five qualities of a cat – if they struggle, give them a few clues: loving, curious, adventurous, friendly, stretchy are just some of them!
Then ask them to think about their inner cat qualities as they go about their day.
- Be caring – Always try to be loving towards yourself and others.
- Be curious – look around at the colours and patterns in your bedroom / think about the different foods you eat and where they come from.
- Be adventurous – next time you go for a walk, ask them to try and notice as many birds, bugs, creepy-crawlies and any other animals as they can. Anything that walks, crawls, swims, or flies will do the job – encourage them to use all their senses to detect their local wildlife!
- Be kind – try not to judge other kids, you never know what another person is thinking or feeling. Be the kid who makes others feel warm inside!
Stretch like Banjo!
Explain to the kids that stretching like Banjo can help them feel strong, brave, and happy. Here are some Banjo stretches to try:
The Super Cat:
Practice this pose by standing with the feet slightly wider than the hips, clenching the fists and reaching the arms out to the sky, stretching as tall as you can. Count slowly up to 10 and repeat 3 times.
The Stretchy Cat:
Kneel on all fours with your kids, so they can copy your movements. Place your hands on the floor below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Slowly arch your back up, looking between your arms, towards your tummy – wait a few moments, then move your tummy down, making it ‘long’ and lift your head to look forward. Take it nice and easy as if you are a cat just waking up and having a little stretch. You can meow too! Repeat a few times and take care not to stretch too deeply.
Ask the kids how they feel after doing these little exercises and check out our extra printables below. We think they’ll love them!