Many adults are able to recognize feelings of anxiety, stress and frustration, but when children and teenagers experience these emotions, they are often less equipped to deal with them.
As we as parents and caregivers work to manage and reduce stress in our everyday life, we should help our children do the same. Mindfulness is often taught in schools to help students navigate their feelings and emotions and you can also practice mindfulness at home to reduce stress and anxiety.
Although the idea may seem abstract at first, weekly practice and modeling can help your child learn how to manage their thoughts, feelings and emotions. It will also help bond your relationships and provide more moments for open conversation.
Here are a few activities you can do as a family to adopt mindfulness into your daily routine.
The Mind Jar Snow Globe
Help your children avoid emotional blizzards with this mindfulness practice. First, have them imagine their thoughts and worries are like snowflakes being shaken in a snow globe. Guide them in breathing slowly and visualizing their negative feelings falling down.
As the snowflakes begin to rest on the ground, so too settles their mind. Finally, enjoy spending a mindful minute to remember and imprint these feelings of positivity and serenity.
Listening to the Rain
Simple sounds like rain drops falling through the trees can be calming and relaxing. This mindfulness practice uses a guided meditation to clear your head and bring awareness to your surroundings. Whenever your child appears overwhelmed or agitated, try listening together to audio of failing rain.
Helping children become aware of what’s going on around them at any particular moment can help strengthen their focus and calm their mind. Provide them with time to really explore their environment, noticing the details of their surroundings, indoors or outdoors. Ask them to make a list (verbally or on paper) of objects they see, and have them organize them by color, so that they make their own version of a rainbow.
To access the resources for these mindfulness activities and to find additional stress management practices, visit MondayCampaigns.org/Destress-Monday.
Meghan Crowley is the Senior Program Associate with The Monday Campaigns and a former sixth grade teacher with a master’s degree in health education from Teachers College, Columbia University.