Stress and overwhelm are an epidemic in childhood--which means mindfulness for kids has become essential. As adults, many (if not most) of us carry significant amounts of stress and overwhelm on a daily basis. It has become so ingrained into our society and culture that we have normalized it as a part of who we are as individuals.
Even if "stressed out and anxious" is normal for you--you need to consider the effect that it has on your children. Stress impacts our children twofold: (1) they are impacted by the stress levels of their parents and (2) they are impacted by their own personal stress encountered in daily life.
In today's podcast episode I am speaking with Jessica Knopke about teaching mindfulness to kids. Jessica is an Occupational Therapist and Yoga Teacher who has dedicated her career to bringing calm and intentional movement to childhood. She is also the founder of Lily Pad Yoga, a yoga center and Youtube channel which brings movement and breath to children.
In our chat, Jessica shares more about her observations of the growing rates of childhood anxiety and depression--along with specific strategies that we as parents can use to plant seeds of mindfulness in our children during these early years. Jessica shared that mindfulness in children doesn't necessarily mean stillness, because they have an internal drive to move.
Jessica will be joining us in the Mindfulness focus group for this month, click here to join in the discussion and ask her any questions you may have! In the mean time, check out five of Jessica's simple strategies to teach mindfulness to kids.
Mindfulness for Kids at Home: 5 Simple Ideas
- Blowing on feathers. Blow feathers off the palm of your hand. This will help children to experiment with different intensities of breath.
- Starfish breath. Make a starfish with one hand by opening up all the fingers. With your other hand gently trace the outline of the starfish. Breath in as your finger moves up and breathe out as your finger moves down. Using our finger to trace as we breathe fosters a mind-body connection.
- Anchoring to sounds. Listen for the subtle sounds outside the room, inside the room, and then within your own body. It might be the hum of the furnace or the chirping of a bird--we can pause our brains and tune into the sounds that are present right now.
- Mindful eating. You can really pay attention to that first bite of your meal. How does it look? How does it smell? Is there a sound it makes while you chew? If you are picking it up with your hands, what does it feel like? Before you take that first bite, who can you thank for that food? The worms that nourished the soil, the sun for helping it grow, the farmers who grew it, the workers who packaged it, truck drivers who drove it to the market, the grown ups who put it on the table….then chew that first bite really slowly.
- Glitter jars. Put warm water, sparkles, glitter glue and food coloring (optional) in a jar. Shake it up and it resembles how we feel in our bodies and minds when we are scared or angry. As you sit in stillness watching the glitter settle your mind and body begin to settle too. Then we can see the water clearly, just as we can see more clearly now that we are calm.
Do you want to chat more about bringing mindfulness to kids? Join the discussion!
Be sure to check out Jessica on Youtube!