1. There are many physical sensations that come without human emotions help your child to notice and name body sensations, thoughts, and emotions. “My chest feels warm and I feel so happy when we are playing outside together like this. “It sounds like you might be nervous about this new situation. How does your body right now?” The more insight our kids have into their inner experience, the more they will know how to respond.
2. Share a hug. Hugging your child, take three deliberate, synchronized, deep breaths together. Drop your shoulders, relaxing any muscles that feel tight. Let go and feel the tension melt away. Use it as you say goodbye in the morning, when you recognize when someone could use a calming hug, or just for the love of it.
3. Encourage them to move, stretch, and notice body sensations. Teach your children to observe and appreciate all that our bodies are capable of and do for us.
4. Stop and be aware of surroundings. Whenever you find yourself waiting with a spare moment— in the grocery checkout line, at a doctor’s appointment, walking to your car—pause, on your daily walk. Stop! Tune into the five senses, and share what you notice with one another.
5. Share your feelings with them, be descriptive in your own process of noticing, naming, and using the breath to calm yourself. ”Wow, I am feeling overwhelmed right now. I need to walk away and take a few deep breaths… Whew, okay, now I feel calmer.”
6. Eat a mindful snack. If you have a toddler, this may come easily, as toddlers often eat at an excruciatingly slow pace. As kids grow older, they may need a reminder to slow down. Together, use your senses to observe the food. Enjoy the first few bites with careful attention to appearance, Smell, feel, and taste. This will help to distract the mind.
7. Count your breathing. Either lying down with a small pillow or stuffed animal on your child’s belly, or sitting up with a hand resting on the belly, notice the inhale and exhale, the rising and falling of the belly. Count the inhales and the exhales, at first out loud, then silently on your own.
8. Take a mindful nature walk. Move at your child’s speed, which, of course, can vary from sprinting like a cheetah to slugging along at a snail’s pace. Bring your sense of curiosity and adventure and allow your child to lead the way
9. Let them be. Kids are instinctively more mindful. Whenever possible, allow them to explore at their own pace. Create space in your schedule for free time to investigate and be mindful naturally.
10. Try to lead by example.
Whatever you do, don’t force. As children develop and change, so will the most suitable forms of mindfulness. Be patient and have fun. Take the long, slow road whenever possible. Mindfulness, after all, is a way of being meant to be cultivated over a lifetime. So go ahead and breathe.
Referenced and written by Shona Moralis , MSW, LCSW. Psychology Today, May 02 2016