If the children in your life are anything like mine they feel and express emotions fully and live in the moment. In fact, it can be difficult to get them to transition from one moment to the next. Their minds are designed to concentrate intensely on one thing at a time. Children are naturally mindful little people.
And the adults in their lives can give them guidance to maintain the ability to feel and express emotions and live in the moment. A more mindful way of thinking means problem-solving skills, self-awareness and regulation and empathy for others. Luckily, I’ve found these 7 simple mindfulness hacks to calm an anxious child.
Mindfulness has become somewhat of a buzzword lately. And it’s often associated with meditation. But it’s really about awareness of ourselves and our surroundings. And there are simple ways to teach the techniques of mindfulness at a young age that will have lifelong benefits.
7 Simple Mindfulness Hacks To Calm an Anxious Child
One of the first steps toward mindful living is experiencing our surroundings with a multi-sensory approach. Mindfulness means noticing and appreciating sights, sounds, tastes, textures, smells and feelings. Through sensory activities kids will explore and develop this important skill.
Our sense of taste can become an important tool in moment by moment awareness and self-regulation. Through mindful eating kids slow down, notice sensations, increase their interoceptive skills and develop appreciation for nutrition and a healthy body.
You don’t have to be a master yogi to pass along mindfulness through exercise. Some simple yoga poses and movement activities will teach kids to be aware of their bodies, increasing proprioceptive skills. These exercises are helpful for calming anxiety and anger.
The first thing we often hear when we are stressed is to take a deep breath. Deep breathing has almost magical effects for our body, lowering blood pressure and slowing our adrenaline. Mindful awareness by deep breathing can be taught to kids and will help them calm their anxiety or regain control after a meltdown.
Acknowledging and working through emotions is just as crucial to a mindful lifestyle as is taking care of our bodies. Through guidance and some simple techniques kids can increase their emotional intelligence, become more self-aware and develop strong interpersonal skills.
Everyone experiences anger as an emotion at some point. Being able to identify and understand what triggers an angry response can help kids work through that anger more effectively. Mindful observation and a solid strategy during triggered situations will result in less stress for everyone.
Negative thinking patterns often go along with anxiety disorders. A mindful approach to identifying those negative thoughts can help turn them upside down. With time, mindfulness has the power to change brain patterns to allow more optimistic thinking.
Mindfulness may seem like a trend at the moment. But it’s a positive one! Self-awareness, appreciation for our bodies and emotions and empathy for others are gifts that we can give our children. Through these simple mindfulness techniques we can be doing our part to raise a connected and compassionate next generation. And that sounds good to me!
How do you take steps to be more mindful? Which of these activities do you think will benefit the children in your life the most?
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.