Mindfulness is the practice of being in the ‘now’; being aware of the smells and sounds and sights around you in the present moment, rather than worrying about the future or past, or attaching any emotions or feelings to what you observe.
Not sure of the value? Think about the last few times you were stressed out or anxious. Chances are, you were thinking about something bad that already happened, or you were worrying about something that may happen in the future - people are rarely stressed about what is happening in the moment.
By teaching your kids how to focus solely on what is happening in the right now, they’re learning a valuable tool for destressing later in life, or managing stressful moments. And while it’s not always possible to switch off this stress, regularly practicing mindfulness can help with reducing stress and anxiety.
Science backs up this claim with research suggesting mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) can help reduce stress and improve other mental wellbeing.
On the social side of things, learning to be present in the moment can boost social skills and academic performance, as well as help you manage emotions.
The science of happy kids
How to raise resilient kids
How to practice mindfulness with your kids
Children are inherently mindful creatures. They’re doing it when they stop and look at a tiny beetle or ant on a walk, or sit fully immersed in their colouring in book.
You can encourage them to build their skills with simple activities, including bushwalking, taking time to listen to the bird sounds and collecting leaves. The beach is a great alternative – encourage them to focus on the feeling of the sand under their toes and the sound and smell of the waves crashing.
Mindfulness meditation is another powerful tool, and it is one you and your child can practice together (and role modelling mindfulness is another great way to encourage it!)
Mindfulness meditation is a highly-focused type of mindfulness, combining meditation, breathing techniques and paying attention to the present moment to help you notice the way you think, feel and act.
Mindfulness apps & guides
Not sure how to get started? Smiling Mind
is an app based mindfulness meditation program, designed to help build individual mental health and wellbeing through positive, pre-emptive tools based on mindfulness meditation.
Co-developed with psychologists and health professionals, it’s accessible to everyone, and has different modules for different age groups. Give your children even more encouragement by downloading an completing the app for your age group.
Another useful tool that speaks to children is the Spiderman script
. Given many young kids enjoy their superheroes, and Spiderman is known for using his “Spidey Senses”, this script steps them through the stages of mindfulness, using language that appeals to them.
The script will walk them through the stages of super hearing, sight, smell and touch, using a flower, a small bell and the script.
Have you ever practiced mindful meditation? What are your top tips?