Simple ways to add mindfulness into a child's routine
As the Girl Guides introduce a new ‘Think Resilient’ badge, we take a look at how to add mindfulness into a child’s daily routine.
We were thrilled this week to see that the Girl Guides have launched a new ‘Think Resilient’ badge, to help tackle mental health issues among their guides.
The new badge is set to promote awareness of mental health issues and encourage girls to deal with stress. Just last year, Girlguiding UK commissioned some research that found more than six out of ten girls and young women aged between 11 and 21 knew someone who had experienced a mental health problem. When you look at that statistic, it’s little wonder that children in the UK have previously been labelled some of ‘the unhappiest in the world’.
Mindfulness can have a positive impact on the day-to-day life of young people, improving their mental and emotional wellbeing. But how can it be easily added into their routine? Here are some tips:
Speak their language
For you to have any chance at getting your children to be more mindful, they have to understand what you are talking about! Using the term ‘mindfulness’ immediately can be counterproductive and lead to kids switching off. Instead, use similar words within the vocabulary they already have; this will make it easier for them to understand.
Take more mindful walks
Walks are brilliant if you’re trying to be more mindful and for teaching children to be so, without adding any unnecessary pressure. We can highly recommend taking ‘noticing walks’; take a stroll around your local area and notice things you haven’t seen before. This is a great mindfulness practice, as children are often the first to find things.
Make mindfulness fun
If children are a little reluctant to adopt mindfulness exercises, don’t push them. It might take some time, so why not arm them with something fun? ‘This Book Stinks’ is a great activity for children over 8 and allows them to stretch their minds, at their own pace. Kids can dip in and out of it, whether on holiday or enjoying a weekend trip away. It becomes their scrap and memory book in one, which allows them to be more mindful (even if we don’t call it that).
Establish a bedtime routine
Bedtime is one of the easiest times to introduce children to the practice of mindfulness. Giving them a chance to draw attention to their bodies is a calming way to end the day. Establishing a more mindful bedtime routine, such as sharing what you have been grateful for that day, is a great way to start children on the road to mindfulness.
Be aware that, just like adults, children are very unlikely to adopt mindfulness overnight. It takes practice and commitment from each member of the family wishing to be more mindful. By trying out the tips outlined above and adding them to daily life where possible, children should begin to notice the benefits of mindfulness over time.
Does mindfulness have a positive impact on children?
Mindfulness for children shouldn’t be called a ‘fad’