Maintaining a sense of routine in the context of a modern lifestyle can be challenging. But during times of uncertainty, keeping up a daily practice can be crucial for wellbeing. At the same time, with school closures and many people working from home, activities need to be accessible to the whole family. Anything that involves mindfulness is perfect for this, especially for younger children, who don’t have the capacity to make sense of their thoughts and emotions, in the same way that grown ups do, when things feel a little different. With that in mind, it would be a notable achievement getting even the most mature of five year-olds, to chant mantras while holding a head stand. Luckily there are many other educational, productive and nurturing activities to do, that kids will love. And they'll never suspect it's good for them.
Here's our list of three mindful activities to do at home:
Breathing Exercises — Becoming aware of our breathing is a simple way to hone our attention to one place. A simple Google of ‘breathing exercises’ yields many variations in technique, but the easiest approach I’ve learnt is to simply count the seconds of each inhale and exhale.
Try this: Breathe in through your nose for five counts. Hold that breath for five counts. Exhale through your mouth for five counts.
Another nice way to explain this to your kids — particularly for the younger ones — is to breathe in ‘all the good things they can think of’ and breathe out all ‘the bad things they can think of’. Encourage them to make a sound when they do this—they will think it’s hilarious.
Image Via: Instagram
Colouring in — As with counting breath, mindful creativity can be a way to help shift thoughts away from things outside of our control, and become attuned to what is happening in front of us. Colouring books have emerged as a popular mindfulness trend for adults but, of course, kids have loved colouring for years – it's perfect for the whole household. Many mindfulness colouring books are available online, but there are also sites that offer free-to-download sheets, like this one.
Tip: the AusPen Assorted Six Pack is perfect for this activity. Use them on thicker paper and make sure there isn’t anything to stain underneath, whiteboard markers work well on porous surfaces too!
Cooking — Get the kids into the kitchen with you. This isn’t strictly a mindfulness activity, but it does work to keep tiny minds occupied while teaching them a skill. It will give you a head start at meal time too. Try these Sprouted Kitchen ‘Little Sprouts’ Black Bean and Butternut Pumpkin Quesadillas or these Zero Waste Peanut Butter and Chicken Stock Dog Treats.