Children of all ages can benefit from mindfulness, the simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment. It can help parents and caregivers, too, by promoting happiness and relieving stress.
Learning mindfulness in small doses starting at a young age sets kids up with skills to calm and focus themselves throughout their life.
Julia Sen, a registered clinical and counselling psychologist in Toronto, offers a quick and easy mindfulness exercise to give every family member a much-needed moment of self-care. It takes almost no time and gives everyone’s oxytocin—the hormone behind the rush of warm and fuzzy emotions —a much-needed boost.
1. Come together in a room and have everyone find a comfy spot. Allow a few moments to settle down.
2. Inhale for five seconds through the nose, and exhale for five seconds through the mouth or nose. For very young children like preschooler and toddlers who may not understand how to do this, have them raise their arms slowly up in air, and then slowly bring them back down. Repeat three times.
3. Visualize holding a puppy or another sweet, small animal. If puppies aren’t your thing, anything that makes you feel tenderness and love works. For small children, give them stuffed animals and ask them to snuggle their stuffies, or tell them to think of a rainbow or anything else that makes them feel happy. Hold this sensation for 30 seconds.
4. Repeat whenever and however many times you find helpful, but at least once.
If you’re leading this activity with your family, remember to be in the moment too, so you get the same benefits as the others, or repeat on your own a few more times than the kids.
Discovery Point Nursery and Academy, daycare in Woodbridge, Vaughan.