5 Basic Ways to Encourage Mindfulness in Children

When we encourage mindfulness in children, are we actually teaching them something new? Or are we just trying to preserve the inherent consciousness they were born with? In other words – is mindfulness taught, or is it something that was there but has just been “unlearned” over time?

What is Mindfulness? Simply put, mindfulness means paying full attention to something while not thinking about anything else in this moment. Being mindful is the opposite of multitasking.

5 Ways to Encourage Mindfulness in Your Child

These days, my goal isn’t necessarily to teach my kids how to be mindful. My goal is to get myself out of their way. I try to allow them time to play.

Allow for plenty of unscheduled down time

Kids may complain of getting bored, or you may see them get restless. It is important for children to have enough simplified downtime to become aware of these emotional states and see them through on their own.

Model mindfulness

Make time for your own mindfulness practice. Whether you have a formal sitting practice or try to implement conscious awareness throughout your day, make it a priority. Kids will do what they see us do, more than they will listen to what we say.

Ask lots of questions

Ask questions that encourage children to connect to their senses. “What does the air after today’s storm smell like to you?” or “What do you see in the clouds today?” Using our senses or awareness of our breathing is a way to connect immediately to the present moment.

Manage your expectations

Kids may not always be in the mood to discuss big picture ideas like gratitude and compassion. Use kid friendly language and consider bringing up such topics in casual passing, or at night before bed when they are relaxed.

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