Mindfulness for kids - 3 ways to enjoy mindfulness with your toddlers
Updated: Jul 26
Hello beautiful mumma. How are you? Are you looking for ideas to keep your little ones happy & calm especially on those rainy days? Why not practice mindfulness at home with your little ones? Having little tools for mindfulness not only help us release our physical, emotional & mental stress but also help our little ones gain peace and calm. It’s never too early to start enjoying benefits of mindfulness. in fact my daughter has been enjoying the benefits of yoga & mindfulness since she has been in my belly! Here are 3 simple and fun ways to introduce mindfulness to your toddlers & pre-schoolers. Make it fun and keep it short and sweet. If they lose interest, there is no need to insist on the practice, try again another time.
1. Mindful breathing - breathing buddies
This is especially great one for younger ones, perhaps 2-3 year olds. You need your child’s favourite stuffed animal for this practice. First get your toddler to lie down on his/her back. Place their favourite animal on their belly and tell them they’re going to breathe together with their teddy/doggie (whatever animal they have). Ask them to feel the teddy rising as they breathe in, feel the teddy falling as they breathe out. There is no need to exaggerate their breaths, so encourage them to just breathe normally and naturally. You can also tell them to imagine their belly becoming a balloon. As they breathe in, the balloon is filling up with air, as they breathe out, the balloon deflates and air leaving their body. You may find it helpful to try this practice when they need a quiet time (also great for those who are transitioning to drop their daytime nap) or before their bedtime. The idea is to get them to just discover their breaths!
2. Mindful breathing - Two hands, two bellies
Both of you lie down on your back next to each other. Place your hand on your child’s belly, and get him/her to do the same so you’re placing hand on each other’s tummy. Ask your child, “Can you feel mummy is breathing? When I breathe in, my belly rises towards the ceiling and when I breathe out, my belly falls towards the floor.” And tell them they are doing the same and you can feel their belly rising and falling too. Once you get comfortable, you can add the counting as you breathe together. You can tell them “We are now going to breathe together by adding counting. Ready? 1, 2, 3, 4 (while breathing in) 1, 2, 3, 4 (while breathing out) Can you make your breaths nice and even?” You can also encourage your child to put the other hand on their own belly while you do the same so you both have one hand on each other’s belly and the other hand on your own belly. Do it a few rounds together.
3. Mindful listening
You need a bell or singing bowl for this practice. If you don’t have one, pull out a stainless steel mixing bowl and either metal straw or metal chopstic from your kitchen drawer! Ask your child to listen carefully to the sounds you’re about to make and ask them how many strikes you have made. Every time I ring the bell at the end of my class, I see a toddler’s face lightening up with curiosity. At the end of this practice, get them to have a go with the bell/singing bowl. They would love it!
There you have it. If you & your little one are ready to take action and join a real class, I invite you to book an online private Family Yoga session with me. (Simply click the word Family Yoga above to find out more) My yoga classes always incorporate mindfulness and we can arrange a mindfulness focused class.
If you enjoy this post, you may also enjoy this blog post on kids yoga:
5 fun yoga poses for pre-schoolers
Chika is the founder of Wa Yoga (Wa is a Japanese word meaning harmony). She is a Yoga Australia registered teacher, student of yoga for 12 years, teaching yoga & mindfulness for the last 6 years and mum to a 4-year old daughter. She is qualified to teach children too, and have seen hundreds of children experience benefits of yoga & mindfulness through after-school programs and pre-school programs.
She specialises in offering online courses and memberships for mothers of young children and young families. She has a gentle approach to teaching yoga and her classes are always infused with mindfulness, reminding people to slow down and come back to the present moment. Her mission is to inspire and motivate other mums to start incorporating yoga & mindfulness into their daily self-care ritual.
She is a creator of Calm & Relaxed Mama, the 4-week online course to help mothers find calm in short & sweet express class. (30-minutes) Her course helps you build sustainable home practice and help you embody mindful living in every moment of motherhood. Find out more about her course here (starts Wednesday 2nd September 2020)
She is also a creator of Mindful Mama Membership, the online membership for mothers who aspire to embrace mindful, creative, earth-friendly living. The next enrolment period for Mindful Mama is late September. If you'd love to be the first one to find out full details of the membership and receive early bird bonuses, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org