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Mindfulness for Preschoolers

Author: Lisa Soeno

Aaaand breathe. It’s Friday.

Just a quick hello from me this morning, as I’m going to be handing you over to mum of two, doctor and RMS reader Laura (@mindfuldoctoring). Today’s post will be the first in a series of various articles from Laura aimed at parents of younger children.

Laura, over to you…

Mindfulness- the practice of quiet, thoughtful contemplation and relaxation. Hardly sounds like a match made in heaven for your rampaging toddler, right? And that’s exactly how I felt before I began these exercises with my three year old. In today’s society more than ever children are under pressure to succeed from teachers, social media, and sometimes us. Teaching them how to relax and enjoy the moment might just be one of the greatest gifts you ever give them. Here are some simple exercises that can fit into your existing routines.

Mindful eating

If your children are anything like mine, mealtimes resemble a scene from Alien. Getting my son to slow down and not inhale his food has taken time and practice, and isn’t something we manage every day but is something I now enjoy too. Start by talking about how the food feels in your mouth- slimy? Squidgy? He was quick to offer his own ‘creative’ suggestions- like slugs? Like dog poo? And this was just his morning porridge! You can then begin including the other senses too. Slowing down also gives us chance to feel full, so is great for combating overeating.

Strike a pose

Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment and focusing on our bodily sensations. Holding a pose, such as ‘superman’ or ‘wonder woman’ means concentrating on feeling strong and can be very empowering (I quite enjoy it too!).

Being thankful

We’ve added this little into our little bedtime routine. We each take it turns to say something we’re thankful for (Me: ‘for having a nice warm house’; Him: ‘for Chase from Paw Patrol’). I want my children to know that they are fortunate and that not every child has the things they do. But, they are still so little and burdening them with details of this harsh world feels unnecessary. This feels like a step in the right direction.

Slow breathing

What child doesn’t like bubbles? And fortunately they provide a great focus for slowing down breathing and guiding relaxation as you try to blow the biggest bubble possible and watch it float away. Pretending there’s a balloon in their tummy that they need to inflate can be a fun game too.

Body scan

This simply means tensing and relaxing each part of the body in turn to aid relaxation. Ideally your child is lying down for this, so bedtime provides the ideal opportunity- we have lots of giggles when doing this too! Start by ‘squishing your toes’, then move up the body making each area hard like a stone then soft like jelly.

So there we have it- actual mindfulness for toddlers! Admit it, you were sceptical weren’t you? Which activity would you choose to try out with your littles? Or do you have other ways of just slowing down and enjoying the moment with your children? I’d love to hear your suggestions.

{Contributors}

Image by Little Beanies

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Author: Lisa Soeno
Lisa is obsessed with all things interior design. And Cadbury buttons.
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10 thoughts on “Mindfulness for Preschoolers

  1. Interesting idea! My three year old might go for a few of these. I don’t recognise the shoving food down throat at mealtimes at all. Mealtimes at my table are more a fight to get some vegetables into them.

    As an aside, is the blog going to cover families with older kids? I understand that the team are parents of younger children – do you think that you will cover things for older kids as your own children get older or will the focus stay on younger ones? I find that there are lots of blogs/information/activities out there for younger children but it really tails off at a certain age. And parenting doesn’t seem any easier, the challenges just change.

    1. Oh yes, vegetables are a battle for us too-sadly it’s only the beige food that gets inhaled! As an aside I would be happy to write articles relating to older children if RMS felt there was a demand 🙂

    2. Hi Jade. We’re glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

      If you would like to let us know what sort of topics you might want us to cover for older children and what sort of ages we will do our best 🙂

      1. Thanks for the reply Becky, I didn’t have any particular topics in mind but just notice all sorts of gift ideas, activity ideas, days out and parenting tips etc for young children. It was more of a wondering than a request, I know it would be a little strange to write articles on topics which aren’t relevant to the author. I find parenting my eleven year old to be quite challenging. I can quite easily find and read books about older children’s behaviour but every now and then I am in a bit of a rut and have a look for educational things older children would want to do or activites I could to to bond and not much comes up. Possibly has quite a lot to do with the fact that no eleven year old wants to do forced activities with their mom 😀

  2. A really interesting little read, especially on the way to get my 1yr old from nursery after a busy day! I’ll store these up for when he’s older (and for myself on those hectic days!)

  3. I really like the ‘being thankful’ nighttime idea. My son has just turned 3 so might be a wee bit young at the moment but will definitely keep this in mind for the future.

  4. I really enjoy posts on this topic. We’re pretty big into Leo taking time out and practising mindfulness. He’s a very active child and his brain never seems to switch off so it’s really important for us to be able to carve out some space for him to try and wind down. At the minute he does three things to try and practice mindfulness. Each morning he chooses a card from his yesmum mini pack – they have affirmations on them so its a positive way to start the day, especially during these dark mornings when getting out of bed can be a bit of a struggle.

    Each night before bed we fill out his happy self journal. It starts with a quote so we talk about what it means and maybe how he could use it the following day. You then fill out their favourite three things from that day. Usually he will tell me he cant remember what he did in the day but when we sit down and he focuses for a couple of minutes it’s amazing the things he can remember. We have a story or he reads a few pages for himself and then when he gets in bed he spends a few minutes doing the headspace for kids which really winds him down and gets him ready for a good nights sleep.

    Thanks for sharing your tips xx

    http://www.londonhypnobirthing.co.uk/product/yesmum-mini-cards/
    https://happyselfjournal.com/

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