The Mindful Family: Practice These Fun Mindfulness Exercises Together
Raising your kids to be mindful will only work if you, as parents, also participate in mindfulness exercises. The following fun mindfulness exercises from Renee Jain, MAPP, can be performed anywhere as a family. Performing these exercises together as a family will help your kids identify their feelings and to view mindfulness a regular part of their routine, which will reduce their stress levels and help them handle stressful situations more effectively:
1. “Breathe Like a Bee”:
Trying to tell kids how to breathe is difficult without a point of reference. Giving them an example they can identify and understand will help them stay focused and worry less about if they are “doing it right.” For this simple exercise, instruct your children to cover their ears with their thumbs and eyes with their hands. Then they will inhale deeply for a count of four, visualizing the back of their throat closing as they finish inhaling until they can hear their own breath. Then slowly exhale through their mouths for four counts while making a humming sound (hence the bee example). You might get some giggles around the kitchen table as you all make bee noises, but that’s part of the fun!
2. “Magnetic Hands”:
This exercise will give kids a visual example to follow as they breathe so that they have a focal point. Instruct them to stand with their hands shoulder width apart and facing each other. During the 4-count inhale, they will bring their hands close together until they almost touch. Then during the 4-count exhale they will return their hands to their starting position. Repeat.
3. “Dissolve a Thought”:
This exercise is great for kids (or anyone) to practice so that it’s handy in the midst of a stressful situation. Have your children close their eyes and start by breathing in and out for four counts each. Then instruct them to think of every thought they have as a cloud that appears as they inhale and dissolves as they exhale. Instruct them to notice the thought on their inhale and then let it dissolve. Repeat with the next thought. Practicing this technique as part of a normal mindfulness practice can help during stressful times so that they can let any negative thoughts “dissolve” instead of dwelling on them.
For more ideas on how to incorporate fun mindfulness exercises into your family’s daily routine, contact us.
Find more exercises related to mindfulness with relationships and family here.