Parents must keep up with the fast-paced life of different challenges for their various roles. The days start with rushing to the school with their children, going to work with long hours spent in traffic in crowded cities. Thinking of what to cook for dinner while juggling with work. The loud noises of television, telephone, computers. Rushing the children from one activity to another after school, doing the shopping in the meantime and then doing the housework. All of these cause tired, impatient, angry parents and children.
When we think from children’s point of view, the word they hear most frequently from when they get up in the morning until they go to bed is “Come on, Hurry up!”. Come on, hurry up and get dressed! Come on, hurry up; we will be late for school! Come on, do your homework, you’re running late! Let’s get ready for tennis! Come on, we have to be on time for ballet class! Come on, eat your food! Go to bed!
Children and parents are like ships dragged during a powerful storm, and it is like a vicious circle with no end. Although many families are physically together from the time they get up in the morning until they go to bed in the evening, they cannot spend time together with awareness. Worse, they are distinct to their senses, feelings and thoughts. Maybe that’s why attention spans are so short. Lately, a lot of parents state their need to STOP. And they have every right, just standing still with ourselves and doing nothing has become a luxury with modern life.
Mindfulness can be described as being aware of the present moment, yourself, your body, your surroundings, and the world. With mindfulness, we can live in the moment and be aware of our own thoughts and feelings. It’s also the awareness of the changing nature of emotions and thoughts. Mindfulness is a life skill that positively affects both physical and mental health. It supports learning, attention, emotional intelligence, and quality of life. Research shows that adults who practice mindfulness and exercises regularly have positive changes in their brain functions, especially in the brain area that performs executive functions.
Using mindfulness practices should be a part of our lives to observe the changes in our lives. We should not forget that change is a process and for change to occur, we need to practice mindfulness regularly.
Mindfulness activities with children aim to provide self-control, manage strong emotions and calming down. Studies on mindfulness practices in children show that; regular mindfulness practices reduce anxiety and increase attention skills. Children who participated in these studies stated that they could manage their emotions more easily while coping with their problems.
Mindfulness Exercises for Children
Listen to the bell. The best way to begin mindfulness work with children is to get them to focus on one sound. Ask the children to listen carefully to the bell until the sound ends.
Let’s Breathe! Although breathing exercises form the basis of mindfulness activities, they can be challenging for children. It is easier to teach children to use calm down breathing with play. Give your child a small plush toy. Ask them to lie on the floor place the plush toy on their tummy. As they inhale, their belly will expand, and the toy will go up. Their tummy will become flat as they exhale, and the toy will lower.
Mindful Walking. Organize a “mindfulness walk” with your little one. Let them walk for 5 minutes and focus on what they had not noticed before (birds, cars, trees, fungi, different colours, squirrels).
Calm Down Jars. Calm Down Jars can be a helpful tool for children to practice calming down while having strong emotions. Just shake the jar and observe how the glitter in the water moves around. At first, when you shake, the glitter moves around in speed (just like the thoughts in our mind when we are angry), but as time goes by, the glitter moves slowly (just like the thoughts get slower after we take calm-down breaths).
How to Create a Calm Down Jar?
1) Fill the water bottle with 3/4 cup of warm water. We use warm water because it easily helps the soap mix with the water.
2) Drop in the craft decorations you want to use.
3) Fill the rest of the water bottle up with the clear liquid hand soap. Make sure you fill it all the way to the top because the bottle works best with no air and minimal bubbles in it.
4) Put the lid on and move the bottle around. (You can secure the lid with a low-temperature glue gun).
5) Let the little ones shake it, flip it over and watch the items slowly float from one end of the bottle to the other.
If you want to learn about the basic thought behind the calm down jars, you can watch; “Mind in a Jar“
Sending warm wishes to all,
Out of the Box Fun Team
Snel, E. (2013). Sitting Still Like a Frog. Shambala Publications
Greenland, S. K. (2010). The Mindful Child. Free Press.
All activities are ideal for children aged 2–6.
Get playful and mindful with our A Day at the Farm box!
Our main goals for this theme are:
All activities are ideal for children aged 2–8.
Let’s play together and explore the colourful world of emotions!