Mindfulness for children offers so many benefits.
Practicing mindfulness of breath with children is a key foundation for the practice of mindfulness. It helps young children to focus and develop their attention span, as well as to become aware of their bodies and the sensations they experience. Additionally, mindfulness of breath can help young children to regulate their emotions, by teaching them how to calm and focus themselves when they are feeling upset or overwhelmed. Ultimately, practicing mindfulness of breath can help young children to lead healthier, happier lives.
Mindfulness For Children – a simply practice
10 steps for practicing mindfulness of breath with young children:
1. Have your child sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
2. Help them to focus on their breath by placing a hand on their belly, just below the navel.
3. As they breathe in, tell them to notice how their belly rises.
4. As they breathe out, tell them to notice how their belly falls.
5. Encourage them to continue breathing slowly and deeply, focusing on the sensations of the breath moving in and out of their bodies.
6. After a couple of minutes, ask them what they noticed about their breath (e.g., how it felt, where they felt it most strongly, etc.).
7. Repeat this exercise several times, for different lengths of time (e.g., for preschoolers 1 minute, increasing by a minute or two as they get older).
8. You can also try other variations of this exercise, such as having them focus on the sensations of their breath in their chest or nostrils.
9. Once they have mastered the basic exercise, you can challenge them further by having them count each breath (inhale = 1, exhale = 2, inhale = 3, etc.), or by having them hold their breath for a few seconds after each exhale.
10. Encourage them to practice this exercise regularly, both at home and at school.