Mindfulness tips for kids from a pro
Whitney Stewart is a children's book author who has written multiple books on mindfulness for kids, like Barefoot Books' Mindful Kids and Tummy Ride and Albert Whitman & Co.'s Mindful Me for tweens.
Her Mindful Kids card deck works for kids in the classroom or at home: pull out a card and follow the activity instructions for exercises, visualisations and more, wherever you are. She gives us a few of her top tips for integrating mindfulness into your child's life:
Short meditations are key
Very few kids I know to want to sit down and meditate for thirty minutes. In my mindful kids' classes, we do short meditations focusing for three to five minutes on the rise and fall of our tummy as we breathe.
Then, I encourage kids to let mindfulness inspire their day. We learn how to focus on our thoughts or emotions, and how both can shift and change throughout the day – and both can influence the way we experience life.
We start with kindness. I ask my mindfulness students to do one kind thing for someone else (or for a pet) each day, for a week. We can also focus on the senses. We do short meditations on listening to the sounds around you.
Or we do a tasting practice, chewing one raisin, for example, slowly, to notice how the flavor and texture change. I encourage kids to eat one bite, or one meal with their full attention on their food (no TV, devices, or talking) and experience how it feels to simply eat.
Take a mindful walk
We also pay close attention to our emotions, and the physical sensations we experience when we have a strong emotion. That's easy to do any time, any place. Whenever anger or sadness arise, for example, we can pay close attention to what happens in our body – tummy ache, tight muscles, hot face, clenched fists, or whatever they experience.
Or, we take a mindful walk. That means walking slowly, noticing our muscles as we move. We can also shift our attention to whatever is around us. If we walk outside, we may notice bird calls, wind, clouds passing over the sun, a rainbow or anthill, a barking dog. We also do relaxation exercises that use the breath, mind focus, and muscle tension and release to help ease our body and mind.
Culture Whisper is your curated guide to the best of London. We may earn a commission for items purchased through our retailer links.