Why is Mindfulness good for children?

Mindfulness training comes with many benefits for children in their everyday life. Psychologically, whether a child is experiencing distress or not, mindfulness practice is effective in strengthening children’s emotional well-being. As the training can help them to understand and connect with their feelings better, the practice builds up their emotional regulation skills, thereby lowering their stress levels and promoting a more positive mood.

Practicing mindfulness can also benefit a child’s academic performance. It facilitates learning as it enhances children’s attention and concentration skills. This helps them to ignore distractions and to stay focused on tasks. In addition, there is evidence to show that practicing mindfulness improves executive functions such as self-control, working memory and cognitive flexibility. As a result, by enhancing planning and decision-making ability, the practice of mindfulness is likely to have a positive effect on academic performance.


How to practice mindfulness with children?

Mindfulness training is not necessarily stationary. To engage the child’s interest, make the exercises fun and simple. Here are a few suggestions of the mindfulness activities that you can practice together with your child.

  1. Tummy breathing

Lie down and place a stuffed animal or your favourite toy on your stomach. Take a deep breath through your nose and feel the toy rising with your tummy. As you breathe out slowly through your mouth, feel the toy falling with your tummy. Repeat a few times of ups-and-downs with your tummy to rock your toy to sleep.

  1. Body scan and relaxation

Starting with your feet, squeeze the feet muscles for five seconds to create tension and then slowly release it. As your feet relax, observe how they feel for ten seconds. Ask yourself how your feet “feel” right now?  Be curious and describe the sensations, e.g. soft, hard, tense, relaxed, warm, cold, or nothing to describe. Next, repeat this squeeze-and-relax and questioning exercise with the next body part as you move up from feet to head (e.g. legs, knee, tummy, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, neck, head).

  1. Going on a safari with your senses

Go outside and imagine you are on an adventure. Be quiet and pay close attention to things around you. First, use your eyes to look for any animals that crawl, fly or walk. Look for any little detail in their movements. Next, close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you – music, people talking or laughing, cars passing, etc. Describe the quality of the sounds e.g. loud or soft, near or far, temporary or continuous. Moving on, take a few deep breaths to notice the smells in the surroundings – grass, flowers, fruits, sweets, coffee, etc. Again, feel free to describe the quality of smells e.g. mild or strong, sweet or bitter. Last but not least, you may also explore and comment about the other two senses (touch and taste) when appropriate.