When it comes to parenting, practicing a mindfulness exercise is a great way to create a better line of communication and a deeper bond with your children.
In fact, evidence has shown that practicing mindfulness with children can help improve focus, presence of mind, and social-emotional intelligence.
Not to mention, it’s a chance to spend some extra time with your kid. And who doesn’t love that?
While mindfulness exercise can be practiced in solitude. There are a ton of great exercises that you can do with your child to gain a better understanding of each other.
For the purpose of this blog, we’ll be focusing on exercises for youngsters.
Try out one, or all from this list and see what works best for your child. I would also recommend doing so at a time when they are feeling positive, and well-rested.
Mindfulness Exercise You Can Do With Toddler
Try out one, or all from this list and see what works best with your child. I would also recommend doing so at a time when they are feeling positive, and well-rested.
Use 5 Senses Mindfulness Exercise
The 5 senses exercise is a great way to begin introducing your child to mindfulness because of its simplicity.
Because they are likely already familiar with the basics of their senses, they may be excited to make use of such.
Personally, I love to do this minfulness exercise outdoors. But no matter where you are, it’s a great way to practice being less distracted, and more grounded and focused.
To start, look around and start to say some of the things you see out loud. Try to come up with 5.
Next, state 4 things that you can touch, or feel. This could be the grass beneath your fingers or the hair on your head.
Follow with 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
You should always go first to demonstrate the mindfulness exercise for your child. Trust me, they’ll be wanting to join in before you know it.
Deep Belly Breathing
We are constantly breathing, but it’s very rare that we take the time to notice the actual sound and feelings of inhales and exhales.
Practicing conscious breathing with your toddler is a great way to realign both of your energy and create a comfortable space for communication.
To begin, find a quiet and comfortable place for you both to sit, or lay. The goal is to take a step back from our minds and focus solely on our breath.
Place both hands on your belly as take a deep breath through your nose for a count of 4 seconds. Remind your child to notice the feeling of their belly filling with air, like a balloon, underneath their hands.
Exhale out fully through purse lips. Notice the air leaving your belly, and use your hand to push it all out.
Repeat this cycle 3 to 10 times, taking your time to notice the feeling of your hand raising and lowering your belly.
Take a moment at the end of the mindfulness exercise to tell each other how you feel.
Finger Tracing Exercise
Another great mundfulness exercise that is specifically curated for children is called finger tracing. Similar to deep belly breathing, finger tracing teaches children to declutter their minds by drawing their attention to their breath.
To begin, hold your hand out, palm up, with your fingers spread wide.
As you inhale through your nose, use another pointer finger to begin tracing up the outside of your pinky.
On your exhale, trace down the inside of your pinky, back towards the palm of your hand.
Continue tracing up your fingers and down your fingers, following your breath cycle, until you’ve made it all the way to your thumb and back.
Ask your child how they feel after this practice. Calm? Focused? Happy?
Practice Mindfulness Exercise Through Journaling
You’re probably thinking, “journaling? My baby can’t even read yet.”
I know. But journaling with a toddler is easier than it sounds.
It’s a great way to get your child to begin noticing their own thoughts and feelings, and it definitely does not need to include any words at all.
Instead of relying on writing, try giving your children a blank page and reading them one of the following questions. Using prompts will also help them to practice listening more actively, and mindfully.
- What did you see out the window this morning?
- Where would you like to go this summer?
- What does your home look like?
- What did you eat today?
So there you have it. 4 simple ways to begin practicing mindfulness exercise with your toddler.
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Try a few and see what works best for your child.
You can also read more tips about ways to bond with your kids in our article; 5 Creative Ways to Bond with Your Toddler.
Rita Thompson is a writer for The Joy Within, an online school for meditation, happiness, and personal empowerment. As a writer, Rita strives to help shed light on underexplored topics to help others flourish and access their fullest potential.