How can we motivate children to think?

5 mindfulness exercises for children (and parents)

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Mindfulness basically means nothing else than Attention. For the present, for all that is there - without wanting to change it. But that can be difficult, especially when we are not doing well. Then (negative) thoughts lead a lively life of their own, we get stuck in the past or digress into the future, chewing through events that could possibly happen one day. And then reproach us for brooding too much again.

Thoughts and feelings come and go. It is very natural. We only get into the notorious GrĂ¼bel carousel when we mentally block something or rate it (too) strongly. Often it is not the actual things that trigger certain emotions in us, but what we think about these things. By daring to allow unpleasant things to happen without evaluating, brooding or distracting yourself, the stress level drops.Meditation helpsin such situations very much (see tip 1).

Even with children, everything goes haywire in their heads. Stress and pressure to perform make things worse. In principle, thinking is not a bad thing. On the contrary: It can even trigger feelings of happiness - e.g. B. when we solve a problem, make someone happy or learn new things.

Mindfulness can be trained

Help with Mindfulness exercises. They support parents and children to become masters of their own world of thoughts, to feel the body, senses, needs and feelings, to let stress pass by, ...

Going through life more mindfully, however, requires a certain continuity and practice (there are now mindfulness trainers for a reason). The longer parents and children stay on the ball, the more successes will be noticeable.

Free mindfulness cards

As a little reminder, that Enjoy life to the fullest and to treat yourself and your fellow human beings with mindfulness, we have developed motivation and mindfulness cards. 5 cards with exercises and suggestions on how to make yourself and others happy.

The following mindfulness exercises for children and parents are good for beginners and do not take up much time.

Mindfulness Exercises for Children

1. Mindfulness Exercise for Children: A good way to start the day with meditation

Children and parents can start the day with a good dose of mindfulness. Simply take a few minutes to do this, preferably immediately after waking up, and lie there with your eyes open. Now it says:

  1. Quite a few times consciously breathe in and out deeply.

  2. Close your eyes and that Focus on the body and mood, listen in: The best way to do this is to scan through the body once, from head to toe, and notice how the body feels and which thoughts are circulating.

  3. The emphasis is on perception: This short meditation and mindfulness exercise is about training not to get stuck with a feeling or a thought, but rather To let unpleasant things gowithout bracing yourself against it angrily. You can do this by registering that you are "getting stuck" and then turning your attention to the next part of the body or simply to your breathing again. Perhaps in letting go it helps to say to yourself, "Oh, ok, this is a thought that concerns me."

Of course, meditation requires some training - but perseverance is rewarded: This mindfulness exercise calms down in tense situations and clears your mind!

Tip: Guided meditation can be especially helpful in the beginning, e.g. B. via meditation apps such as Headspace (English) or 7Mind.

2. Mindfulness Practice: Appreciating ordinary things

Mindfulness exercises for children are always an option - whether it's brushing their teeth, having breakfast, on the way to school or while waiting for the bus. How does the toothbrush feel in your mouth? What kind of noises is she making? Is the toothpaste cold or warm?

Concentrating fully on one thing - the opposite of multitasking - is the key to being more mindful. Our brain switches off all the hustle and bustle around us and focuses. That feels good!

  • Especially during the meal it's a great experience: Far too often we eat quickly and without enjoying. Encourage yourself and your children to eat very slowly and to describe exactly what they taste, feel and feel.
  • On the way to and from work or on a walk: How does the path feel under my feet? How many steps do I take per breath? What are my arms doing while walking? Alternatively, young and old can actively concentrate on their surroundings and look out for beautiful or strange things. You are sure to discover tiny details that you have never noticed before. The same applies here: feel, smell, listen.

Tip: In this mindfulness exercise it can help you and your child to take "internal notes" by formulating what they are discovering - or imagining that the head is a camera and the eyes are taking photos of their dearest impressions.

3. Mindfulness exercise: stone meditation

Stone meditation sounds like hocus-pocus? This exercise isn't as wacky as it might sound. Collecting stones is a big hobby of many small and large people anyway. We take advantage of this here:

The next time you walk, the motto is: collect stones - small, large and in any color! Back home, the kids can choose a stone, find a quiet and cozy place and that Examine stone with all your senses. What color is the stone? What does its surface look like and how does it feel? How does the stone smell? What kind of noises can I make with him? It's best to close your eyes too, that sharpens the other senses. In the next step, the little ones can come up with a story about the stone. Where does he come from? What has he already experienced? And off you go on a fantasy journey.

Tip: Stone meditation is a great mindfulness exercise for kids because it's so tangible. The kids have an object to focus on. Some children find this easier than exercise 1 or 4, for example. In addition, parents and children can do this exercise together - ideal for beginners in mindfulness.

4. Mindfulness exercise for children: breathing!

Breathing is a popular tool in mindfulness exercises. After all, it is always there and flows through us.

During a breathing exercise, one pays close attention to it Course of breath through the body. You can feel the pull through the nostrils, the widening of the chest and the curvature of the abdominal wall. It is not important to breathe particularly deeply. The breath should remain exactly as it is naturally. Just watch, don't change. Parents and children should allow themselves at least five minutes for this mindfulness exercise. If you like, you can of course make it longer. An alarm clock helps you let go, so you don't keep blinking at the clock.

Tip: With this exercise for more mindfulness, children and parents should be able to relax completely - without interference. Perhaps your child can hang a note on the door of their room or they can find another undisturbed place that they have all to themselves.

You can find nice instructions for the breathing exercise at HappyAndFitHappiness:

5. Mindfulness exercise for children: keep a diary

With a diary, children and parents can Capture momentsin which they were entirely in the here and now, e.g. B. when bathing, walking or romping around. Whether as bullet points or a whole text - the more often these thoughts are written down, the more we train our attention and awareness.

By the way: keeping a diary is also a great sleep ritual, it promotes the formation of positive thoughts.

Extra tip: morning ritual

Nice Start the day with a clear head in the morning, makes happy. Mindfulness exercise number 1 is particularly helpful here.

In addition, other personal morning rituals can work wonders: B.

  • first stretch long and wide,
  • cuddling,
  • Open the window and breathe deeply in and out,
  • Short meditation,
  • Favorite music,
  • drink a glass of water,
  • play a round.

Anything that puts you in a good mood in the morning is allowed.

Learning through play with scoyo:

Great books on mindfulness for adults: