Starting early is a great advice for many things in life, including the practice of mindfulness. Here are five ways that you can help your child get a head start on this beautiful art.
1. Normalise mindfulness
Being mindful should not be portrayed as something special or foreign. Mindfulness techniques should be talked about as if it’s the most natural thing. When offering advice to your children, try suggesting solutions that incorporate mindfulness. Keep it simple and avoid having it sound like a social experiment.
2. Set a good example
You are a role model that your child looks up to. The more you practice mindfulness, the more likely they are to be accepting towards this practice. Consider making meditation a family event. Even if they reject it at first, giving them frequent and regular exposure is a great way to spark interest.
3. Communicate the benefits
Mindfulness is something that needs to be explored in-depth. Simply telling children to be mindful without any elaboration or justification will probably not work and may even backfire. When emotions run high, especially during stressful periods such as examinations and sports competitions, highlight to them how mindfulness techniques can be of help. Explain how such means can help calm their mind and put things into perspective and invite them to ask questions to better understand this medium.
4. Keep things easy
Children absorb content that are simple and easily digested. As such, presenting mindfulness as something that is both straightforward and simple can help your child be more receptive. The word “mindful” can be a tad daunting as it is open to many interpretations. As such, try using more general and comprehensive words to explain the concept. Mindfulness can be about being “more aware” of your surroundings and staying “more focused and calmer”. It can also be as easy as “enjoying the moment” or being “more present”.
5. Make mindfulness fun
Sneak some fun mindfulness tactics into your family activities. Instead of starting off with an overwhelming lecture on the benefits of mindfulness, try inviting your child to join you in certain rituals. For instance, during the full moon, you can get your child to try mindfully releasing an undesirable old habit. You can even have a surrender jar where family members slot in a slip of paper containing things that they are prepared and ready to give up.
By inculcating mindful practices from young, children will be better equipped to cope with stress further on in their lives. As they mature into adults, they’ll be emotionally healthier and more mentally resilient. They might even take a page from your parenting book when they have kids of their own!