In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to be a positive and guiding force in our children's lives. Many of us are stressed, and worrying about our families' health, and the health of the world in general. This stress can often transfer to our kids, and in doing so negatively affect their well-being.
Mindfulness & meditation is one way in which we can positively influence our children’s outlook on life. It can help to relieve anxieties by encouraging us to live in the present. It can help to increase happiness by forcing us to focus on all that we are grateful for. Mindfulness practices are not just for adults.
Here are some simple things you can do to bring more mindfulness to the lives of your children:
1. Art & Coloring
It may seem simple and like something that all kids enjoy, but the act of coloring, or creating, is one of the most mindful and meditative things we can do with our time, whether as a child or adult.
Encourage your children to create, draw, color, and be creative. There are even coloring books that encourage mindfulness for children.
2. Do Yoga for Children
Yoga makes children calmer, stronger, more agile, and adaptable. It can also help make them more mindful.
Depending on your child's age, you may have to adjust the approach or style of yoga. For example, younger toddlers stay more engaged in a yoga class that incorporates storytelling and animal noises. You can still get them to practice yoga this way.
For children even 10 years old, many have the maturity and physical stability to practice adult beginner yoga classes, depending on the child.
Focusing on your breath, challenging yourself, becoming stronger, and creating more peace of mind through yoga, is highly beneficial for children, just as it is for adults.
3. Meditate with Your Kids
Mindfulness and meditation are valuable for children. Even kids have anxiety and depression issues from time to time.
Increasingly, meditation programs are showing encouraging signs in schools. Children as young as pre-school are learning meditation and mindfulness practices, all the way through high school.
Science is also continuing to show that meditation from an early age, can have a positive impact on the development of the brain.
4. Teach them Valuable Lessons & Ethics through Storytelling
You can teach children stories from your religion, or philosophies of mindfulness you'd like to teach them, through creative story-telling.
Children are intelligent and impressionable. The early years are important to help instill the benefits of being mindful and a person with ethics and values. These are things that children must be taught.
Read them their favorite stories, that also have a good message. You can also find mindful children's coloring books that combine creating art and storytelling, to instill more mindfulness.
By Leif Haerum
Towards these goals, celebrated author and cartoonist Guy Gilchrist, together with Leif Haerum and the team at Backpack Buddha, have developed a very unique interactive children’s book entitled, Buddha Bear’s Enlightenment Coloring Book. Although the book draws its strength directly from Buddhism’s 8 Fold Path, it is largely a non-denomination journal. In other words, anyone of any faith can easily relate and benefit from this book. And while this book is primarily intended for kids aged 5-12, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy and benefit from this coloring book as well, as we certainly did!
The book is designed to be completed over 21 days and each day the reader learns a new lesson as he accompanies the adventures of Buddha Bear. Buddha Bear’s Enlightenment Coloring Book offers an effective and exceptionally fun way to introduce our children to mindfulness and mediation. Rather than teach our children these techniques outright, the book encourages them to discover these on their own. In these exceedingly stressful times, Buddha Bear offers us all a much-needed escape into a beautifully illustrated world.
Want to do yoga with your children? Try now!
Kids Yoga: Chillax Your Mind with Karyn Sullivan
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