This past week, my colleague and I presented our teacher’s inservice on mindfulness to a group of preschool teachers. We shared with them many activities they can use to teach mindfulness to their 3- and 4-year-olds.
The teachers loved what we shared with them, and I want to share some things here with you as well!
Why should we teach mindfulness to our children?
There are a few really good reasons to do so, and I’m going to explain them here.
It helps them to become more self-aware
Practicing mindfulness helps our children to tune into their bodies and how they are feeling. They get to know what a slow heartbeat feels like vs. a rapid, fast heartbeat. Also, they learn what tense vs. relaxed muscles feel like. They learn what it feels like to have racing thoughts vs. calm thoughts. This self-awareness is a powerful life skill that will serve them forever.
It helps them to tune into the world around them
Practicing mindfulness allows our children to notice a beautiful sunset, or the butterfly that has just landed on the bush next to us, or the feeling of the soft breeze as it kisses our cheeks. When we tune into the world around us, especially nature, it can help to soothe our souls.
It helps them to learn self-control
When our children are more tuned in to themselves and the world around them, they are more likely to notice when they are ready to “flip their lid” as Dr. Dan Siegel would say, and then they have more tools in their toolbox to bring themselves back to center and peacefulness.
It helps them to deal with the world around them in a more conscious way
When we are not self-aware and mindful, and we are feeling stressed and tense, we may lash out at others. Adults and children can do this. When our children learn to be more attuned to how they are feeling and what is going on around them, it gives them a greater chance to respond instead of react in situations. This does not mean they will be perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, we are giving them more tools to live a mindful, aware life.
It helps them to tune into the present moment more effectively
Our children tend to be far better at being absorbed into the present moment than we are. Think of when they are building something with Legos or playing Fortnite and it’s time to leave the house. But practicing mindfulness helps them to tune in even moreso, and with the additional layer of intentionality. They can choose to be present to this moment and are aware that they are doing so.
It helps them to neutralize stress
The world is a fast-moving place. Our children are bombarded daily by information, technology, screens, peer pressure, social media, school work, etc. All this amounts to pressure, pressure, pressure. If we can teach them mindfulness, they are much better equipped to deal with this onslaught of information and stimulation and to not be as negatively impacted by it.
Oh – and if you were wondering, this is a great thing for US to practice as well.
I have created a handy guide of mindfulness activities you can teach to and practice with your children. Click below to get your free download!