A Few Excellent Strategies to Teach Children Mindfulness
Mindfulness has taken a front seat as a growing trend in the last 10 years or so, both in casual and in psychological practice. Studies spanning from 1998 to 2009 and beyond
have explored the numerous benefits of this ancient practice, especially for children.
Research has found time and time again that mindfulness holds a host of benefits, including decreased stress and anxiety. Given that between 10% and 20% of school-aged children deal with anxiety, it makes sense that a counselor may want to practice these techniques with their clients. Here are a few excellent strategies and counseling games
to teach children mindfulness practices.
The Sense of Touch
Collect a number of objects that might be interesting to hold. These can include childrens counseling tools like sand, different toys, and even everyday objects like feathers or stones. After giving one of these objects to a child, ask them to spend a few minutes thinking about what it feels like in their hands. After those few minutes have passed, ask them to describe what they felt. Taking the time to notice nuances in texture, size, and weight between different objects can teach excellent observational skills that mindfulness practices require.
Using Your Eyes
If you couldn't tell, mindfulness is all about using the senses to observe and appreciate the present moment. For this activity, ask a child to simply take a minute or two and look around the room with the goal of noticing things they never paid attention to. Maybe there's a crack in the ceiling or a stripe on the door. After they've spent time looking around the room, ask them to describe the most interesting thing they noticed.
Another important aspect of mindfulness is being aware of your own body. For children, this may be something new, as they might not be entirely focused on their bodies yet. Similar to emotions posters or feelings posters, breathing exercises can help a child really hone in on one specific sensation. The exercise is fairly simple: practice breathing in through the nostrils and out through pursed lips. Ask the child to focus solely on keeping a steady rhythm, focusing on their breathing. Not only can this technique encourage mindfulness, it can help calm anxiety as well.
Whether you're looking for techniques to reduce anxiety in children or counseling games to improve mindfulness, these are all useful practices to make use of in the counseling room. For more information on mindfulness activities or other counseling games, don't hesitate to visit Child's Work.
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