While there are certainly many benefits to living in the information age, growing up is much different than it was even just twenty years ago. There’s less time spent outdoors, so much to manage within daily living, and food has turned into something fast and highly processed. As adults, we have an obligation to help the next generation develop in a way that brings out the most health and happiness possible.
Mindfulness is one of the most beneficial techniques and traits that we can work on enhancing in our children.
What is mindfulness?
According to Psychology Today, mindfulness is “a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”*1
What are the benefits?
Though children tend to naturally be more mindful, the introduction of mindfulness-meditation practices in educational settings has been shown useful to improve children’s cognitive, emotional, and social abilities. In one study, the mindfulness-meditation techniques were shown to reduce attention problems and children’s internalizing problems including ADHD symptoms.*2
How to get started
Enhancing mindfulness begins at home with the habits and lifestyle that you help to create with and for your children. It doesn’t have to be complicated; in fact the whole point of mindfulness is really simplicity and naturalness.
Here are five simple habits that you can start incorporating into your child’s routine to bring out their most mindful self:
1. Spend time in nature
Mother nature is one of the best learning environments! Getting out into nature is such an intuitive state for children that its positive impact is often overlooked. Kids spend more time watching television, playing video games, or on the computer than they do outside.
Creating some time for outdoor play is a great way to get children back into the present moment while allowing them to reconnect with their most playful self. Their senses will be completely engaged as they explore their environment and encounter new stimuli. Make this a part of their daily routine – rain, snow, or shine!
2. Simple breathing exercises
Mindfulness shouldn’t be made complicated for kids, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t incorporate progressive techniques. One of the easiest ways to help get us back to the present is simple breath work.
When children are taught about the power of breath, they can use it as a grounding tool and as a way to be more in tune with their body and mind. There are many different breathing exercises specifically designed for kids, like the flower breath, the hissing breath, and the bunny breath.*3
3. Bedtime gratitude practice
A regular gratitude practice creates a sacred ritual around positivity, abundance, and thankfulness which all contribute to a happier mindset. Nighttime is the perfect time to enhance a calm state of mind with bedtime gratitude.
Ending the day by having your children share three things that they are grateful for allows them to be more observant and aware of their feelings. Their remarks don’t have to be long and detailed, just whatever first comes to mind. You can help guide them if they’re unsure. Be sure to be an active participant in the practice by sharing your three things afterwards.
4. Boost omega-3 intake with a high quality fish oil
Omega-3 fish oil is extremely nourishing for the body and mind. Implementing this healthy habit from a young age is a great way to support brain health. Just some of the known benefits are improved focus, concentration, and mental activity.
Our Fish Oils For Kids feature a blends of up to six cold water, wild caught fish oils including sardine, anchovy, mackerel, herring, tuna, or salmon. We especially love the liquid versions which are naturally flavoured and easy to add into a healthy smoothies.
5. Ease tummy troubles with probiotics
A healthy and balanced microbiome is an essential component to a clear body and mind. It’s much easier for children to be in a zen state when they don’t have tummy troubles throwing them off.
The Probiotics for Kids supports intestinal health and promotes favourable gut flora. They comes in a powder form with a likable taste that can quickly be added to drinks, yogurts or sauces.
The best part is that all of these mindfulness-enhancing habits will help to boost your own mindfulness too. We highly recommend that you join your kids in practicing mindful days!