If you’re a regular here, you’re likely already familiar with mindfulness, the simple practice of being aware and accepting of the present. The act of tuning out the noise and focusing completely on the here and now offers countless benefits; as well as helping you experience and enjoy moments to the fullest, mindfulness can assist you in understanding your thoughts and feelings without judgment, encourage you to stop worrying about the future or dwelling on regrets of the past, and aid in reducing comparisons with others. Essentially, accessing mindfulness can unlock a happier, healthier, and more balanced you.
However, mindfulness can be a difficult quality to learn and is often used as a way to cope with difficult situations once feelings of stress and anxiety have already manifested. At Standard Dose, we’re on a mission to change that. With our new Mindful Kids collection, we aim to make mindfulness a natural habit for the next generation. We know that children's brains develop at a rapid rate and we believe that teaching mindfulness at this critical age can help little ones develop the kindness, confidence, and stress management skills they need to navigate our world.
As well as being uniquely positioned to learn mindfulness, children can also gain unique benefits from this practice. For example, by learning to slow down and connect with their inner voice, a toddler can begin to understand, accept, and manage the pain of losing their favorite toy. Though a seemingly small instance, this may be a child’s first experience with grief and loss, and learning how to cope with these feelings at a young age can enormously benefit them in the future. Similarly, knowing how to stop and observe their emotions without judgment can help a second-grader learn how to manage conflict in the classroom, a skill they’ll be able to carry through their school years and beyond.
So how can children learn mindfulness? While the ways we do so as adults are pretty widely known (from meditation exercises to taking a moment out of our day to focus on these senses), mindfulness should be taught to children in a way that’s both accessible and fun. Here are four ways we recommend practicing mindfulness with your child so it’s exactly that:
Make mindfulness part of creative play
Learning mindfulness doesn’t have to feel like a chore. In fact, we believe games, cards, and art activities can make mindfulness something young minds can look forward to. For example, the Happy Hearts Board Game from Mindful & Co Kids sees children move around an illustrated game board where they’re encouraged to express feelings of gratitude and giggle as a group to release stress-reducing endorphins. Designed to be enjoyed on a daily basis, games like this help make mindfulness a regular and fun practice, rather than something that’s only turned to when they’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed.
Incorporate affirmations into your daily routine
Repeating positive affirmations like “I believe in myself” and “I am enough” throughout the day can help children build the self-esteem and confidence they need to handle difficult situations. For instance, the Slumberkins Ibex Snuggler for Emotional Courage comes with an affirmation card that reads: “I feel very deeply, it’s a powerful gift. There is strength inside me to guide and uplift.” Carrying this illustrated card around and repeating the mantra regularly can help reinforce a child’s ability to access calmness, clarity, and confidence when they need them most.
Introduce yoga and meditation
Yoga and meditation are popular paths to mindfulness for adults and, with a little adaptation, they can be just as rewarding for children too. The B Mat Mini from B Yoga, for example, is the perfect size and weight for little hands to carry, while the Little Renegades Mindful Kids Cards: Daytime makes learning skills like meditation and breathwork easy and fun for children.
It’s no secret that children learn by watching their caregivers. In fact, studies have shown that caregivers who practice mindfulness help children develop this skill naturally and authentically. To model mindfulness for your little one, we recommend avoiding looking at your phone too often when spending time with your child, expressing gratitude regularly, and enjoying activities like meditation and yoga yourself.
Ultimately, your child’s path toward mindfulness will be an individual experience guided by their own age, abilities, needs, and desires. That’s why we’ve curated a collection of mindfulness tools that can be used in different ways by different children, either independently or with caregivers, at home or in a classroom environment. To share your experience with us, tag @standarddose in your Instagram posts or email your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to see and hear how you and your child embark on this journey together.