A guide to mindfulness for families
18 June 2020 / Health and Fitness / Families /
Mindfulness has become a growing trend in recent years with more and more people discovering the benefits of self-guided meditation. At Sequoia spa, mindfulness forms the basis of several of our treatments, but children can also benefit hugely from the practice. Teaching your kids simple mindfulness activities from a young age can help them process emotions and cope with any challenges they might experience. With that in mind, our activities team have joined forces with Sequoia spa to suggest several activities that will help your little ones during this challenging time.
One of the most fundamental mindfulness exercises for kids is breathing. While it may seem simple, taking the time to focus on breathing grounds us and focuses the mind on the moment. To start, find a relaxing place to sit with your child and close your eyes together. Take a deep breath in and notice how it feels as it moves through your body and fills your lungs. Slowly breathe out and repeat, paying attention to any sensations you feel. Take another deep breath and hold it, recognising how it feels in your lungs, before letting it go. Start by doing this exercise for a minute and ask your child how they feel afterwards – communication is vital to help them understand the exercise and the benefits of it. Our beautiful grounds offer 300 acres of tranquillity that are perfect for practising mindful breathing with your child.
The mindful jar
A great mindfulness activity for kids to help them cope with strong emotions is a mindful jar. Start with an empty jar (a mason jar is perfect) and fill it almost to the top with water. Next, add some glue and dry glitter (or use glitter glue if you have any), seal the lid and give the jar a good shake to mix it up. Whenever your child feels overwhelming emotions, they can shake the jar and sit still until the glitter settles. The jar represents your child’s mind when they are upset and the emotions are the glitter rushing around. This activity teaches them that just like the glitter, their thoughts will settle down and they’ll feel calm again. Sitting still to watch the glitter gives them a chance to process what they’re feeling and why.
This mindfulness activity transforms an everyday walk into an adventure. Head outside on a ‘safari’ and ask your child to notice as many birds, insects and other animals as they can. To spot them, they’ll need to use their senses and pay attention to their environment as they walk. Encourage them to touch their surroundings as they go, such as leaves and flowers. This helps to promote awareness and being present enough to notice what is going on around them. Walking is also a brilliant stress-buster in itself, which will benefit both you and your child. Our woodland trails provide the perfect opportunity to explore nature and enjoy the beauty of The Grove’s estate.
Notice five things
A quick mindfulness exercise for kids you can do anywhere is noticing five things about their surroundings. Observing the world around them helps to bring them to the present moment, especially if they are emotional. Next time your child is upset, sit down with them and calmly ask them to tell you five things they hear, see or smell. Take it in turns until your child is feeling better and encourage them to do this exercise whenever they feel overwhelmed, whether it’s with you or on their own. This will help them to regain control when they feel themselves getting upset or anxious.
Mindful eating not only helps kids to tune into their senses, but it also encourages gratitude. Next time they have a snack or their favourite treat, ask them to take a moment to appreciate how it looks, smells and feels in their hand. Take a small bite and chew slowly, noticing how it tastes, what the texture is like and how it feels to swallow it. This simple mindfulness activity for kids helps them to savour the moment, express gratitude and enjoy the treat all the more. Why not try it next time you join us at one of our renowned restaurants?
Headspace for Kids
If you’re looking for a resource to help, Headspace has developed a range of mindfulness activities for kids suitable for ages 5 and under, 6-8-year-olds, and 9-12-year-olds. They teach the basics of mindfulness, as well as provide breathing exercises, visualisations and simple meditation for children to try. Headspace explores five key themes: calm, focus, kindness, sleep and wake up; which help children to use mindfulness in different ways throughout the day. You can download the Headspace app to take these mindfulness activities with you anywhere.