Mindfulness Exercises for Young Children
(Ages 2 – 8)
Bedtime is such an important part of a family’s routine. Some of the best moments of the day naturally occur as you get a chance to snuggle and read a book with your child. In this moment you can also be building mindfulness. Take a moment between books or after the last book of the night and draw your child’s attention to what he or she is feeling, seeing, hearing, and touching. This is beautiful for both of you as say things like…
Do you feel the warmth of my arm around you and the comfy way our bodies are snuggled up together? Feel the soft fabric of your blanket tucked in around you. Hear the sounds from outside. Can you name what you hear? Look around your room. Do you see the way that the light makes shadows on the wall? Can you name what the shadows are made from? Now hug me tight and give me a big squeeze. Feel your arms squeeze around me and feel me squeezing you back. Now, lay back and feel your pillow holding your head, and the soft mattress under you. You are perfectly safe and surrounded by love.
You don’t have to memorize the above narrative. Feel free to use it, but it’s just an example. The objective is to simply help your child notice all the information coming to them through their senses, and recognize that all of it is safe. By doing this often you will help ease, or hopefully avoid, the common fear that children have of the dark as he or she will have regularly paid attention to the sights and sounds in the room and given them all their real names.
Also, when reading the book, But Aren’t I Lucky That…, ask your child about the sounds he or she hears in the morning. What sounds are like the ones that Tiger hears? What’s different?
Talk about sensory engagement! Bath time is full of tactile engagement and auditory inputs. Mindfulness in this situation is even easier than bedtime. Your child will already be splashing in the water. Blowing the bubbles. Feeling the stickiness of the soap. All you do is put words to their experience. This helps to focus their attention on what they are feeling, seeing, hearing, touching, and hopefully not tasting. Doing is shows that you understand and can relate to what they are perceiving and that it is valuable.