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How to start a mindfulness practice with your children

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

Mindfulness, Buzz word, Maybe so but it is so important.

In our society, in today's times there is so much pressure, pressure to be on time, to create, to succeed, to be a good mum, dad, boss, employee, friend. To look good, to have all that everyone else has, to have the big house, the fancy car, the outrageous holidays. Your child needs to be in every class and extra curricular activity there is because that is how it is done.

So no wonder parents and children are feeling, overwhelmed, anxious and on edge.

I have been working in the early childhood education system for almost 20 years and children have changed. Parenting has changed. Adults have changed. I am lucky enough to have a business that gets to see women step in to their light. To shine brightly by changing the way they think and the way they do things. But I have noticed a massive amount of women today are anxious. They have anxiety. They have anxiety over being a good enough mother, contributing to the family finances, over their looks. Over trying to manage it all.....

We could all use a little meditation and breath work.

Today though I am talking about how we start a mindfulness practice at home with your children.

Step one:

To turn to the breath. We all breath. We all have to breath in order to survive. But most of us breath shallow breaths, into the chest which is ok but changing this one small detail can have a major impact. Taking a big deep breath into the belly. A long breath, filling your body with air and then releasing it slowly. That's it you say. Yep that is it.

When we and especially children becoming frustrated, anxious or stressed we tend to breath rapidly. Causing the body to go into fight or flight mode and our bodies release Cortisol which when released time after time starts to damage our immune system, causing illness. What we want is to calm that central nervous system and release the hormone dopamine which relaxes us. Calms us and makes us feel better. Breathing in those deep breaths helps calm the nervous system and restore you back to your energy.

So teaching your child to take a deep breath in with you for the count of 4. Holding for the count of 4 if they can otherwise a shorter period and then breathing out for 4. It is that simple. and just repeat a few times. I suggest 4 so that it is easy to remember.

Another activity you could do would be to place a teddy bear on their belly and get them to watch the teddy rise and fall, this is bringing awareness to the breath and being in the present moment.

Step Two:

Just like I just previously mentioned. Being present is being in the moment. Noticing what is going on around you. What you can hear, see, feel and smell. Engaging the senses. Again a very simple thing but very powerful. Children are much more intuitive than us especially when they are smaller because things are newer to them. Have you ever had your child say what is that noise to you and you didn't really notice anything until they bring your attention to it. It is because we have heard that noise over and over and it is all new to them and they may have been frightened by it. So just practicing with your child being still, taking in what is going on around you. What kinds of things they can see, the textures they have, how they feel to touch, are they cold, warm, soft, rough. What they can smell, the wood fires burning in the neighbourhood, how it smells when their is dew on the grass outside, what is cooking. Does it smell nice or not so nice. Even when you give them a hug. Ask what they feel, are you warm, are you soft, is your jumper or pyjamas fluffy. Is the hug a tight squeeze. There are so many things that go un noticed as we are living busy lives. So it is nice to be in the moment, be aware and engaged in our surroundings.

Take some time out today to start with these two things. They are simple but oh so effective.

Much love

Erin xx

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