AD | Collaborative post
Practising mindfulness can be beneficial for adults and children alike. It’s about drawing one’s attention back to the present moment in a gentle and accepting manner and allows parents and caregivers to promote happiness and relieve stress and anxiety. Here are some simple tips from an independent school in London to help you explore mindfulness with your child.
We all face different levels of adversity from the moment we’re born; babies get hungry and tired, toddlers tackle a new language, and teenagers often struggle with schoolwork, friendships, and developing a sense of self. The natural process of growing up creates relative situations of stress for all children. Mindfulness can help alleviate this sense of stress and help young people cope with certain pressures in a healthy way. The earlier you start practising mindfulness with your child, the easier it will be for them as they grow up.
Essentially, by practising mindfulness, children are given a sense of relief from any of the hardships they are tackling. If you want to teach your child to be more mindful, you will have to practise it yourself; you need to be a good role model. Put down your phone and engage with your child, maintaining eye contact as you talk to them. Try not to multitask at times when your full attention should be on your child. When your child is upset, try and stay calm, because if you become agitated the pair of you will trigger each other’s unhappiness in an endless cycle.
In times of distress, try focussing on your breathing with your child. Stop what you’re doing, sit or lay down in a comfortable place, and concentrate on the sensation of your breathing, paying attention to how your chest rises and falls every time you inhale or exhale. Encourage your child to join in. This should help both of you calm down during tense moments.
However, you don’t just have to practise mindfulness when your child is throwing a tantrum, because then it will feel like an antidote to difficult situations. You should try a practise for short periods of time each and every day; as with most things, practise is key. Next time you’re out in the garden or taking a walk in the park, ask them what they can see, hear, feel or touch, like the sound of the leaves crunching beneath their feet or the feel of the cool breeze on their face. When you’re eating a meal, talk about the different tastes and textures within the food. Mindfulness will essentially allow you to genuinely enjoy the present experience, rather than let it flash by unnoticed.