Mindfulness for Children

Mindfulness for Children

Bringing peace to the next generation with mindfulness. By Hannah Butterill

Reading time: 3 minutes

Do you remember when you were young and the most ordinary things would bring pleasure and inspiration? The touch of skin as you hold hands with someone, raindrops drizzling down a window, the smell of an old library book or the excitement of finding a lost penny. These things then somehow get lost as we grow; in the rush of day-to-day life we forget to enjoy what is right there in front of us.

Many in society have lost perspective. They grow up addicted to life’s highs and lows and not being able to enjoy the mundane. This is where children come in — and, in fact, they can be our teachers. Children naturally live in the present moment and enjoy what is in front of them rather than searching for joy in external or materialistic things. They naturally have creative dreams and imaginations. However, as we get older, these dreams and aspirations start to erode away. Not by the children, but by adults, both in subtle and not subtle ways.

We, as parents and teachers, are here now right at the point where children still encompass this newness in life. The excitement in the ordinary is not lost and you can help shape these children’s lives by showing them how to hold onto this and enjoy the present, revel in their true selves and learn how to cope in this big wide world.

  • IT HELPS THEM COPE WITH STRESS AND CHALLENGES Children face a lot of stress in their lives, from school to relationships, to family problems. Having good mental health can help them cope with these challenges in a healthy way. For example, if your child is feeling stressed about a test, they can use mindfulness techniques to calm down and focus. They can also talk to you or another trusted adult about how they’re feeling.
  • IT HELPS THEM BUILD STRONG RELATIONSHIPS Good mental health helps kids develop the skills they need to build strong relationships with their family, friends and teachers. For example, if your child is able to manage their emotions in a healthy way, they’re more likely to have positive relationships with others. They’re also more likely to be able to resolve conflict peacefully.
  • IT HELPS THEM SUCCEED IN SCHOOL Children who have good mental health are more likely to do well in school. They’re better able to focus, learn and remember information. For example, if your child is feeling anxious about a test, they may have trouble focusing and remembering the information they need to know. But if they’re able to manage their anxiety, they’ll be better able to do their best on the test.
  • IT HELPS THEM STAY HEALTHY Good mental health can help kids stay physically healthy by reducing stress and improving their immune system. For example, if your child is stressed, they may be more likely to get sick. But if they’re able to manage their stress, they’ll be better able to stay healthy.
  • IT HELPS THEM LIVE A HAPPY AND FULFILLING LIFE Kids who have good mental health are more likely to be happy and fulfilled in life. They’re more likely to reach their goals and live a life they love.

Hannah Butterill is a yoga teacher for children and adults and former primary school teacher, and will be exhibiting at the OM Yoga Show this October. Come along and visit stand number is G5. Find out more at: hannahmariayoga.co.uk or connect on IG: @hannahmariayoga

3 Tips on How to get Started with 3 Mindfulness for Children

  1. Taking deep breaths Deep breathing is a great way to calm down and relax. Have your child sit or lie down comfortably and close their eyes. Inhale slowly through their nose for a count of four, hold their breath for a count of four, and then exhale slowly through their mouth for a count of four. Repeat this several times.
  2. Focusing on their senses Have your child take a few minutes to focus on their senses. What do they see, hear, smell, taste and feel? This can help them to connect with the present moment and let go of any worries or concerns they may be having.
  3. Being aware of their thoughts and feelings Have your child pay attention to their thoughts and feelings throughout the day. Are they feeling happy, sad, angry, or scared? Once they’re aware of their thoughts and feelings, they can start to learn how to manage them in a healthy way. In this ever-changing world and in the post covid-19 environment, children need these mental health coping mechanisms more than ever. And if we can teach them right from the start, when life is still new, and being in the present comes naturally, then we are half way there.

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.