Day 3: Be Mindful
This week it’s Children’s Mental Health Week (#childrensmhw) and, at ThinkAvellana, we’re sharing simple ways to boost wellbeing in children. We hope parents, grandparents, carers, teachers - and anyone else who cares for children and young people - will find them useful.
Our minds can be very busy, getting pulled into thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Finding ways to focus on what’s happening in the present moment is another way to build your child’s wellbeing.
Here are three different ways to help children develop their mindfulness skills, which will probably work best if you join in too (especially if it’s younger children involved).
1) Draw for 10 minutes
Give everyone a pencil and paper, set a timer for 10 minutes, and draw something you can see. Bring your attention to the shapes, colours, and patterns. Look at the object from different angles. Challenge older children to see if they can spot when their mind’s wandering (or wondering!) and bring their attention back to the drawing. This activity isn’t about how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ the drawing is, it’s about whether you can focus on the activity and bring your attention back when it wanders.
2) Take a bear for a ride
Younger children may enjoy this simple mindfulness technique for bringing attention to their breath. Ask your child to find their favourite small soft toy. Lay flat on the floor and invite them to put the soft toy on their tummy. Set a timer for two minutes, and ask them to watch how the toy moves up and down as they breathe in and out. This simple act of noticing the movement allows your child to remain “in the moment” for more than one moment.
3) Train the “puppy mind”
Older children (and adults) might enjoy watching this video from the Mindfulness In Schools Project. It’s a 10-minute mindfulness practice that uses a fun and playful animation.
If you’ve got other mindfulness based activities that work for you, your family or school, we’d love to hear about them. Join the wellbeing conversation on our Facebook page.
We’ve been sharing other ways to boost wellbeing in children on our blog here.