“Mindfulness” is about being in touch with the present moment – paying attention to what is happening now – your thoughts, your feelings, and your way of being.
Practicing mindfulness is a powerful tool for creating a sense of well-being, for managing stress, and for creating overall good health.
And it’s an essential skill to teach to children.
Here are the three things to teach kids about being mindful
First, teach children to look for the “grungies.” Grungies are “negative feelings” such as fear, anxiety, frustration, and worry which often come from thoughts about the past or concerns about the future. These thoughts steal the present moment.
Teach kids that whenever they feel the grungies, they can regain focus on the present moment by taking three slow deep breaths. This “time out” enables them to become mindful of their current thoughts and to gently change their thoughts to something that supports them.
Second, teach them to be mindful of their self-talk. What kids say to themselves is more important than what anyone else says to them. Supportive self-talk is the foundation for creating a peaceful state of mind, building positive self-esteem, and developing powerful self-confidence.
Third, teach children to be mindful when they are with others. Every time they are with someone they leave a “mark” — either a “gold heart” or a “grungy mark” depending on how they treat them.
Show your kids that when they choose kindness and use manners, they leave “gold hearts” everywhere (including for themselves).
Practicing mindfulness by focusing on current feelings and thoughts, choosing supportive self-talk, and being respectful towards others will enable our kids to create more peaceful and “connected” lives.