Nobody wants their child to have a stressful childhood. We will therefore show you some exercises that will help your loved ones to breathe deeply.
mindfulness for children
Mindfulness should be something completely normal, especially for children. Ultimately, it means nothing more than sensing your own needs. Listen to the inner voice. However, this voice can be lost in everyday noise. Especially in stressful phases, children are not immune to losing sight of their own needs.
- Changing day care centers or playgroups can sometimes mean stress for the little ones.
- For schoolchildren of all ages, the amount of homework and tests can become too much.
- On the other hand, children often feel a general school stress very clearly. Fear of failure and the pressure to be perfect come into play.
- Sometimes children create the compulsion to be perfect themselves. Excessive intrinsic motivation or wrong role models can be the cause here.
Breathing exercises for the youngest
Of course, it is not very effective to want to do a long meditation with kindergarten children. Instead, you should give them a playful opportunity to discover themselves. For example, the child can lie down, place a toy on their stomach and see how it moves when they breathe.
- Have the child breathe at different rates and depths. So this game will be more interesting for the child and it will get to know its body better.
- Focusing on your breathing also calms you down. This can be a counterpoint to everyday stress.
- Important here: a quiet environment in which the child feels comfortable. pleasant light. No pressure! Experiment with what works. Also note that moods of the day are different.
For this exercise, have the child sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close their eyes. Then you tap it. Then have the child point to the same spot. To make the whole thing more entertaining, you can explain to the child that it is a ladybug and it will draw its dots.
- This exercise can also be carried out in a group, for example with a school class. A child sits in the middle with closed eyes. The other children are dead quiet. Another child sneaks up quietly and touches the child in the middle, who then has to point to the corresponding spot again.
- Make sure that the children always feel comfortable with the touches! Encourages children to participate but does not pressure them. This exercise requires trust. For some children it is better to look at the whole thing with open eyes first.
Stone Family – Observing and Collecting
The stone family is played in a place with a lot of stones. Invite the child—or the group—to look carefully at the stones that are there. Let the children hold, touch and smell the stones. At best, tell a little story. Or just challenge kids to choose their favorite bricks, form brick families or create their own brick kingdom.
- This game trains observation and imagination. Also, creating a stone family can be a little reflection exercise on the question: Who is part of my family?
- Alternatively, of course, other things, such as sticks, can be collected and felt. Build as many senses into the game as possible.
- The game is also a great way to take the kids outside. Give them plenty of time to explore everything there. In a safe environment, children can usually keep themselves busy in nature.
The older children get, the better they can concentrate. Dream trips and stories can be conveyed all the better. A first exercise in this direction can be the “magic thoughts”. Again, all you need is a quiet, comfortable place and surface to lie or sit on, such as a bed or mat.
- Have the child close their eyes. Now ask: “What is your favorite food? Imagine it very clearly.”
- “How does your favorite food smell?”
- “How does it taste? Now imagine taking a big bite out of it.”
- “Feel your mouth watering? And it’s just because you’ve been thinking about your favorite food.”
Tips for mindfulness exercises with children
Mindfulness exercises for children are very diverse. They can be adjusted depending on the target audience and personal preferences. Feel free to be creative. The main thing is that the child can feel in peace and without pressure. Small, quiet rituals are also helpful, such as reading a bedtime story or saying something together before eating.
- The regular repetition of such mini-exercises in everyday life gives security. In addition, fixed slots are set in which the child can find peace – and at best you too.
- In addition to the quiet environment, the noise level and lighting conditions should also be pleasantly relaxing.
- Apart from relaxation music, electronic devices such as cell phones or tablets are taboo in mindfulness exercises. Excessive consumption generally harms concentration, attention and imagination. They also play their part in early sensory overload.
- It is a good idea to do most of the exercises yourself. This gives the child confidence in the exercise. Plus, it’s usually more fun together. However, you are allowed to blink in order not to lose sight of the child.
- However, give the child plenty of space to pursue and express their own thoughts and feelings as uninfluenced as possible. Because that’s what mindfulness is all about – for big and small.