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Activities for kids to practice mindfulness

Tue, 8 November 2016

Activities for kids to practice mindfulness

In an increasingly busy world, it’s important to allow kids to engage in fun activities that help promote a healthy mind and body like scavenger hunt, sport or crafts activities.
Getting kids to realise the value and benefits of useful practices such as mindfulness while they are still growing means that it is much more likely that they will take that mindset into later life. This will be a great help to them with managing stress and anxiety; it can also help with social interaction and even the immune system.
Here are some fun activities for kids to help promote mindfulness and general wellbeing:

Breathing exercises

This one of the easiest and most useful exercises you can do with kids. Get them to sit down in a quiet place and practice taking deep breaths to a count of 8-10 before focusing on a long exhale. To highlight the importance of this, ask them to put their hands in front of their chests and bring their palms together with each inhale. Then ask them to move their hands apart on each exhale, and see if they can end each exhale with their hands wider apart. This technique will help them to control their breathing better, making them feel calm and relaxed.image 539

Exercise the senses

Another part of practicing mindfulness with your child is finding fun activities for kids that show them new ways to engage with the world around them. This exercise is a good one for helping your kids begin to recognise and become more aware of their senses. Start by blindfolding your child and giving them food items one by one. This could include fruits or yoghurts that have varying textures, scents and tastes. First they will need to smell it and describe what they experience. Then they will need to touch the food to get familiar with the texture and consistency. Finally, they will need to taste it and describe elements such as flavour – whether it is sweet, savoury, sour or bitter. This exercise will ensure that they fully engage with all their senses by focusing on one at a time.

Painting

Art therapy is just one of the fun activities for kids, that can help them to maintain a healthy mind. It can be a helpful activity for children (and adults) with learning disabilities; it’s also useful for those dealing with loss or trauma, difficulty expressing and processing difficult emotions and many other mental health problems. A good exercise is to get your child to paint a self-portrait - this not only promotes a good sense of self-awareness but also helps them to build a healthy and connected relationship with themselves.

Going on walks

Walking is not only a great form of physical exercise but is also great for clearing the mind and helping you to gather your thoughts. Tell your child to be conscious of the motions they’re using while they walk, concentrating on how they move their feet, legs and arms. You can get them to adjust their pace while focusing on how this affects their body. This exercise has valuable meditative qualities all of its own, helping children to sync their minds with the movement of their bodies.
 

Image by Jennifer Bradford

How to encourage a positive attitude in your child

Mon, 17 October 2016

image 538

Do you ever worry about the effect the outside world can have on your child’s outlook on life? We all want our children to feel able to adopt a positive attitude as they grow and start figuring out who they are. This not only helps them in later life but also has an impact on how they progress through those all-important developmental years. As children are extremely aware of their surroundings, it’s important to start helping them to appreciate the good things in the world around them. There are lots of fun activities that can help with this, and making just a few of them part of your daily routine could make all the difference

1. Use positive language
Many people don’t realise it, but using certain words can have a negative impact on children. With this in mind, try to avoid saying things like ‘you can’t’, ‘that’s wrong’, and ‘that’s a mistake’ to your little one – the phrasing encourages them to focus solely on what they’ve done wrong. Instead, try to use encouraging phases such as ‘good try’, ‘keep trying’ and ‘better luck next time’. Adjusting the language that you use could help your children take a brighter, more optimistic view of their actions and mimic some of these positive phrases in their daily conversations.

2. Recognise positive actions and events
This exercise is a great one to introduce at either the beginning or end of the day. In the morning, get your child to tell you one thing they would like to achieve that day or something that they are looking forward to. Alternatively, at the end of the day, encourage them to talk about something positive that they achieved and what they hope to accomplish tomorrow. Getting into the routine of recognising positive events and actions is a great way to start or end the day!

3. Help them express themselves
Self-expression is a great way to generate positivity and boost self-esteem. Examples of this could be painting, keeping a journal or playing an instrument. All of these activities provide an outlet for your child’s emotions and help them start to harness their creative skills, find out what their strengths are and showcase their talents.

4. Get them to appreciate their surroundings
Bring your child into the present by getting them to take a moment to appreciate their surroundings. With so many distractions around, this simple activity is often overlooked. It could be exploring different flowers and aspects of nature in the garden or getting them to decorate their bedroom. Get them to observe and comment on what is around them and you’ll soon see them start to develop a positive relationship with their surroundings.

5. Gentle exercise
A little exercise can do wonders for your child’s mental state and release endorphins, which are sure to stimulate positive energy. Activities such as yoga and swimming can promote calm and relaxation, so that your child can focus on positive thoughts.
So there we have it, a selection of fun activities for kids to help keep them on the path to positive thinking. Making a conscious effort to incorporate these practices into their everyday lives is sure to pay off for years to come!

Photo by Mindy Gerecke

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