activity-based mindfulness for kids
Activity-based mindfulness is a great way for kids to develop focusing skills while learning to regulate their emotions and respond to any situation calmly, with kindness and compassion. These simple, fun mindfulness games can be dropped into children's routines at home, work, school, or after school. Transitions — between completing one activity and starting another, or when children are standing in line, sitting at the kitchen table, getting ready to leave the house, or waiting to go to lunch, recess, or the next class — are opportunities to reinforce universal themes, like patience and appreciation, and to practice one or more of six social, emotional, and academic life skills that mindfulness develops. Soon kids begin doing this on their own. They may surprise you by using the themes and life skills they’ve learned to settle a dispute on the playground, steady themselves if they’re upset, or ignore a distraction to concentrate on their homework.
As caregivers, our own attention, balance, and compassion have a powerful effect on everyone in our lives, especially on children. They notice when we’re calm, composed, and joyful, and they learn from our examples. How we steer our course through the world directly affects how secure they feel and how they move through the world themselves. That’s why I encourage you to develop your own mindfulness and meditation practices first, before sharing them with children. Here are some tips, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to additional resources to help you get started.