I may not exercise as often as I should, but since becoming a mom I’ve been purposeful about finding simple mindfulness exercises even kids can do. I want my son to internalize the many benefits of exercise not only for the body but mental health as well. Let’s be honest, sometimes I need exercises that will bring him back to earth after a huge meltdown or an overexcited and rambunctious afternoon.
We all know exercise of any kind is important for keeping the body healthy. It helps alleviate stress and promote a positive mood by releasing endorphins. Movement activities can be especially helpful for children with sensory needs by stimulating the proprioceptive and vestibular senses. By taking the time to demonstrate and teach some simple mindfulness exercises you can begin teaching healthy habits at an early age, encourage mindfulness and have a reason to incorporate the benefits into your own daily routine as well. Especially for anxious children and those with sensory needs, yoga and exercise can make a huge difference in the ability to calm the body and mind.
7 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Calm an Angry Child
All yoga poses are most beneficial when held for at least five deep breaths.
Child’s Pose: A very relaxing pose. Just kneel and bring the torso to the floor with hands above the head or at the sides. It can help to teach it by having children pretend to be a rock or a mouse.
Downward Dog: This pose naturally calms the mind and relieves stress. Place feet flat on the floor, bend forward, lift hips and look toward the belly button.
Cat/Cow and Roll up to stand: More calming of the mind, warming up the spine and this pose brings emotional balance. On hands and knees curve spine up and bring belly in. Then curve spine down and look up toward the ceiling.
Feet up a wall: Calms the nervous system, relaxes the body and quiets the mind. Just lie on your back on a bed or the floor and put feet up to make a 90 degree angle with body and legs.
- This series of basic yoga poses goes from standing to floor positions and back to standing. Start with arms above head, move slowly to forward bend. Then walk feet back to downward dog. Lower the body down to the floor and push torso up with arms. Go back to downward dog, forward bend and then back to standing. It helps relieve stress, warms up the body, gets circulation flowing and balances the nervous system.
Move to moods of music
- Play different styles of music that convey various moods. Listening and moving accordingly will bring awareness to the body and develop mindfulness.
Body scan relaxation
- This can be done by starting at the head, scrunching up the face muscles, holding a few seconds and releasing the tension. Go through the entire body tensing up the different areas, holding a few seconds then releasing.
Savasana or star pose
- It doesn’t get any easier than these poses. Simply lay on the floor arms and legs straight or spread out like a star and breathe. To practice deep breaths in this pose kids can place a small toy or stuffed animal on the belly and giving it a ride, making it move up and down.
Is yoga part of your exercise routine? Are there other movement activities you find calming? Enjoy these simple activities and be in the moment.
Amy is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom and writer. She loves sharing what she knows about family, play and early learning. Away from the computer you can find her spending family time, organizing or decorating her home, reading a good self-help and occasionally pretending she knows how to cook but she usually leaves that to her awesome husband! You can find out more about her at Firefly Writing.