Mindfulness is a big buzz word right now, but…what does it even mean? Well, it means being aware of yourself and your environment. It’s a practice in which you try to block out everything around you and just focus. Focus on what? That’s up to you! You can focus on your breath, your thoughts or your task at hand. Outlined below are some mindfulness activities both parents and kids can enjoy this summer! With so many benefits, why not give them a try!
•stress and anxiety reduction
•better problem solving skills
•stronger ability to manage behaviors and emotions
•development of cognitive, performance and executive functioning skills
Focus On Your Breath
These breathing techniques will help calm the mind and body. As an added bonus, you and your child can think positive thoughts while inhaling and release negative thoughts while exhaling.
Flower Breath – close your eyes, imagine holding a flower in a meadow of flowers, breathe in deeply and out gently pretending to blow the petals of the flower.
Buzzing Bee Breath – close your eyes, breathe in and out of your nose with your mouth closed, hum on the exhale as if you’re a bee buzzing in a garden.
Deep Belly Breath – put your right hand on your belly and your left on your heart, breathe in for four counts and out through your nose for four counts.
Focus On Your Thoughts: Gratitude Writing
Just like it sounds. Take a few minutes at the end of the day, week, month, whatever timeline works for you, and record what you’re thankful for. This practice can bring you and your child a sense of peace, happiness and calm and who doesn’t want that?
Focus On Your Task: Yoga Poses
These poses can be an active way to start your day. They are also great to use when your child needs a movement break!
Volcano Pose – have your child curl up on a yoga mat as if they are a volcano before it erupts. Make this mindful by guiding them to think about what the environment might be like around them as they focus on breathing in and out. Then count down and have them erupt by abruptly coming to their knees with their arms outstretched! Then the volcano quiets and your child can curl up again and return to focusing on their breath, thoughts and heartbeat slowing.
Growing Flower Pose – have your child curl up like a seed, sprinkle some water on them by gently tapping their backs before they slowly uncurl to their knees and then feet and stretch their arms out like petals to the sky. Encourage them to focus on their breath and think about how their body felt when curled up and how they felt stretched out.
Tree Pose – this pose focuses on posture, requires a lot of balance and is great for kids of all ages! Have your child start in a standing position and shift their weight to one leg as they lift the other leg up and out to the side with their foot against their inner thigh.
We hope you enjoy these fun summer mindfulness activities and their added benefits:)
Wishing you well, Sarah