Mindfulness for kids - 3 ways to enjoy mindfulness with your toddlers
Updated: May 23, 2019
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!
If you enjoy this post, you may also enjoy this blog post on kids yoga:
5 fun yoga poses for pre-schoolers
You would also benefit from this resource I’ve created for you. It’s called “12 ways to explore mindfulness with your kids” and covers mindfulness in the following 4 aspects – breathing, movement, relaxation and creativity. Visit the link below to learn more.
Chika is a mum to a toddler and Yoga Australia registered children’s yoga teacher and has been a student of yoga for over 10 years. She specialises in mums & bubs yoga, yoga for mums, kids yoga and family yoga. Since the foundation of Wa Yoga in 2014, she has taught hundreds of children mainly aged between 6 weeks and 12 years in Sydney as well as on the Central Coast NSW. She has studied with highly respected international yoga teachers including one of the leading kids yoga experts, Lorain Rushton from Zenergy Yoga. Chika hopes to inspire & empower people to practise yoga & mindfulness daily on & off the mat. The best way to stay in touch with her for her future offerings is to subscribe to her email newsletters. Please follow the prompts at the very bottom of this page to subscribe so you won’t miss out on any updates.