Starting a mindfulness practice with your child
Mindfulness has many benefits for kids and adults. Learn ways to start a mindfulness practice with your child.
Mindfulness is present moment awareness, slowing down and paying attention to the here and the now. You can find mindful moments in breathing, meditation or movement. Mindfulness practice can be formal or informal but no matter how you practice there are so many benefits for children and adults alike. Mindfulness can help you:
Mindfulness can be especially helpful for your children. Mindfulness has shown to help children build skills for social awareness, self-management, strong relationships and decision-making.
Building a routine
Knowing how beneficial mindfulness can be, how do you go about starting a practice? Try these tips from Michigan State University Extension to begin building a mindfulness practice with your child.
- Start small. Start by trying to add one mindfulness practice at a time to avoid overwhelming yourself or your child. Once you have mastered one practice, you can think about adding in more.
- Schedule it. Make mindfulness part of your routine. Maybe add a step to your morning or bedtime routines (Put on our PJ’s, brush teeth, read a book and then take four mindful breaths before we say goodnight.).
- Set reminders. Building a new routine or practice can be hard, especially when everyone is busy. Find a way to remind yourself and your child about your new routine. Draw a picture and put it on the fridge, set a reminder on your phone or add it to a schedule that your child uses to help them remember too.
- Make it fun. Mindfulness should not feel like a chore, it should be something relaxing that you look forward to doing. Not everyone will enjoy the same mindful practices. Try to find the mindfulness techniques that work for you and for your child.
- Lead by example. Children learn to value what you value. When you show them that you value mindfulness by practicing it and talking to them about it, they learn it’s important and helpful. Show your child you are practicing mindfulness too. “I can help you with your homework in a few minutes. Right now I’m practicing taking some slow mindful breaths. When I’m done, I’ll be ready to help you.”
Mindfulness practice resources
Check out these resources from MSU Extension to build mindfulness practices with your children.
- Heads In, Hearts In: Early Childhood Social Emotional Health Activities
- Heads In, Hearts In Mindfulness Activities
- Facebook Family Meditations
- Facebook Family Yoga Sessions
- Facebook Mindful Moments Videos
- MSU Extension's Mindful Mondays Webpage
- Mindfulness Books for Kids
For more articles on child development, academic success, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.