Post Covid Mindfulness Techniques for Kids & Adults
Getting back to school, busy work schedules, managing the household, maintaining relationships...add everchanging protocols on top of this and it can all be overwhelming.
Take a breath! Seriously, take a deep breath...
These are tough times but practicing mindfulness can greatly calm anxiety and build crucial coping skills for you and your family.
Being mindful doesn’t require much time or any additional materials. You just need to pause and focus on the present, be mindful of where you are and how you are feeling. It is simple, but does take practice so make sure you set aside at least a couple minutes a day.
Here are some tips from a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. These activities can be done alone but can also be taught to your children to encourage them to practice mindfulness daily.
- Start with your toes, picking one muscle at a time and squeezing it tight. Do this for 5 seconds then release. Try to observe how your body changes. Repeat the exercise moving up your body.
- Put one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. Slowly breathe in from your stomach (expand like a balloon) and slowly breathe out (deflate). While doing this, focus on your breathing. Try not to think about your to-do list.
- During at least 1 meal in the day - pay attention to the smell, taste and look of your food. Try not to do work or multitask during this meal.
- Sit in a relaxed, comfortable position then pick something to focus on, like your breath. When your mind wanders, bring your attention back to your breath. Do this for at least 1 minute, but hopefully you can continue for longer next time.
- Blow bubbles and notice their shapes, textures and colors. This can help teach deep breathing to children if you have them inhale and exhale deeply.
- Color something. Focus on the colors and designs. Talk about what colors you are using and what shapes you are making. Discussing these points can help keep you focused, instead of letting your mind wander.
- Listen to Music and focus on the whole song, or listen specifically to the voice or an instrument.
Other important things to remember when it comes to mindfulness:
Set aside time everyday for mindfulness. Even if it means sitting in your car alone for 5 minutes after school drop off. Or waking up a few minutes early to get in your alone time, before getting the kids up. It is as important for you to have mindfulness as it is for your children - you need to model these positive behaviors for them!
Try to complete one task at a time. In the morning, it can also help to set realistic goals for the remainder of the day. For example, you can schedule calls during naptime or have the kids focus on an activity while you focus on making dinner. Be easy on yourself and take the day one task at a time.
Mindfulness as a Family Practice
There are so many ways you can integrate mindfulness everyday with your family. All it means is taking some time to focus on one thing. It is beneficial to slow down, come together and be in the present. Some family friendly ideas are to have dinner together and go around the table sharing one highlight from the day. This can help showcase positive experiences and reinforce optimism. You could also take a walk as a family pointing out what you might see along the way, color together, read a book or do a family yoga session. You can even use sticky notes to place positive affirmations around the house as a form of encouragement throughout the day.
Uncertainty is here to stay
Changes are an inevitable part of life and we have seen the varying extremes of uncertainty recently. But constant worrying will not make them go away. A healthy way to deal with this is to use mindfulness techniques to stay in the present. Try to stay rested and healthy so that you can be the best version of yourself, for your sake and for your family’s.
Teaching coping mechanisms such as mindfulness will help your family in the long run, so start by setting aside 5 minutes to do this today!
Get in touch with us to learn how we are integrating mindfulness into our classrooms.