Mindfulness Techniques for Children

Mindfulness might be defined as techniques for training attention, but in a particular and purposeful way, focusing on the present moment, without the addition of judgement. Sometimes a person experiences uncomfortable bodily sensations, urges to escape these sensations in some way by unhelpful thoughts, ruminations on past negative event, or fears for the future diverts their attention to be more focused on these unpleasant sensations that they do not attend clearly to the present moment. All of this might lead to the missing of important information about situations, inaccurate interpretations of events, and therefore unwise or inappropriate behavioural decisions which can often lead to a cycle of anxiety and avoidance, anger, frustration, etc.

It can be taught to the children to focus on the present moment while being aware of their internal sensations, thoughts, and feelings. For every kind of meditation exercises, children should be sitting comfortably, with their back straight, in a position that they can hold without effort, or if there is room, give the option to lie down. An essential component of mindfulness training is practice. It should be explained to children that practice in this case is not like practicing a musical instrument for a concert, but rather practice on a regular basis it is aimed at cultivating a continuity of awareness in all activities of daily living.

Technique no 1: Find a comfortable position on the floor, lie down like you are in your bed. Close your eyes. Mind that if you aren’t comfortable closing them, have “soft eyes” just gazing up at the ceiling without really focusing on anything. Imagine you are just waking up. Open your eyes. Take a few normal breaths, noticing the breath either going in and out of your nostrils and let your belly go up and down. Now slowly pass a smile, not a big, exaggerated smile, just a normal smile like you would give to someone you like. Notice how your lips feel e.g are they together? Are your teeth showing? Are they warm, cool, damp, or something else? Now take notice of the rest of your face e.g does your smile change anything about your eyes, your jaw, your ears? What about your teeth and your tongue? Now it’s the time to bring your attention to the rest of you, when you feel ready, slowly raise yourself up as if you are getting out of bed. Gently give yourself a stretch. Sit back up, continue relax breathing and relax. This will eventually help your children feel more youthful and relaxed.

Technique 2: One minute of mindful eating during dinner. Having lunch/dinner with full concentration will let your kids be more focused.  

Technique 3: A mindful walk around the house.

Technique 4: Mindfully brushing your teeth. For good 2 minutes ask your child to brush his/her teeth more focus fully, give them a timer and let them divert their concentration towards it.   

Technique 5: Mindful gardening/cooking/craft/ patting or grooming of a pet time with your child.

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