Mindfulness for Toddlers: Why and How To Start Mindfulness Activities
Practicing mindfulness since early childhood can be extremely beneficial toddlers. It can enhance emotional wellness and increase their capacity to concentrate. Additionally, it encourages relaxation and reduces stress levels in kids. This, in turn, can encourage a more positive and happy lifestyle.
Dr. Jason Campbell of OHSU mentioned that mindfulness “promotes a greater sense of self-awareness, which can lead to making better decisions based on our values and what we want in life.”
Mindfulness in Children
When mindfulness is encouraged in the earlier stages of childhood, children learn to focus their attention on what is important, keep calm, and identify their emotions. One of the remarkable advantages of mindfulness is that it gives you the ability to manage complex situations, and reduces anxiety levels. In kids, it positively contributes to reducing aggressivity and violence, additionally boosting the immunological system. They will sleep better and stay a little calmer.
Activities and Games To Introduce Kids to Mindfulness
Looking at all the benefits and advantages of practicing mindfulness in kids, the question is: how do you start? Here are some ideas for activities and games to help toddlers begin mindfulness.
Act Like a Frog
The purpose of this exercise is to help kids to practice deep breathing.
Show a short video of a frog that includes how it jumps and how its throat swells. Ask them to act like a frog, by jumping high but also staying calm, observing everything all around. Let the kids quietly jump.
Afterward, sit the kids on the floor in front of you. Breathe in through the nose, swelling your chest and stomach, then release softly through the mouth. Have the children repeat this with you. While they breathe, you can help them pretend they are frogs sitting on a Lilly pad over a pleasant pond.
Make sure to point out how the children may feel when they are finished with this breathing exercise.
This mindfulness activity is simple. For two minutes, children will be using their sense of touch to ground themselves. Start by touching the tip of the nose with your fingers, alternating hands (e.g. right forefinger, left forefinger, etc), Afterwards, switch body parts, while mentioning their names (head, shoulders, legs, toes, ears, neck, etc). You can lead them through, try varying speeds, and more.
This technique promotes concentration and focuses on the “here and now”. You need a bell.
The kids need to sit and relax. They can have their eyes open or closed. Tell them that you are going to ring a bell and that they need to carefully listen. When they can no longer hear the bell, they should raise their hand.
You can do another variation by letting the children move and wiggle until they hear the bell. When the bell rings they must stop and take three deep breaths.
This simple technique helps the child focus on breathing. Lay on the floor and place a stuffed animal on your stomach. As you breathe, ask the child to observe what happens to the stuffed animal. You can also have them place their hand on their chest or stomach as they breathe and to pay attention to how their hand moves.