I am a yoga teacher, and use this mindfulness activity a lot with my own children
Having done yoga – and loved it – for years, I finally took the leap and trained to become an actual yoga teacher last year.
One of the many reasons I wanted to do the training – apart from maybe down the line having my own little yoga studio – was to be able to do some yoga and mindfulness exercises with my own children at home.
We live in an increasingly busy and manic world, and studies are showing us that children as young as four and five are now suffering from anxiety and feelings of stress – something which years ago was completely unheard of. Children today, I think, need to be allowed to just be children again – because, my God, childhood is so short as it is, and stealing this vital time of being happy and carefree away from them, I think will create an entire generation of unhappy, stressed and anxious adults. Experts are telling us again and again that children need play. There needs to be time for play – and lots of it. All these organised activities, all this sitting and learning, it is doing our kids a total disservice, really – because it has stolen away so much of the time that should have been allocated for just free play.
And so when it comes to helping my children live in the moment, be more mindful – I am not trying to achieve an adult’s version of total relaxation or meditation – that is not what they need. Instead, I make time to play with them.
That's right. We play.
Helping my children be mindful, to me, means allowing time for them, for us, to just have fun – and in that moment, not think of anything but the activity we are doing.
For instance, if the weather permits, we go outside and blow bubbles. Children love bubbles – and to be honest, I do too.
Blowing bubbles engages your breath – or your children's breath, and so from a stress-release perspective, is great in just acting as a reminder to keep breathing. As well as this, it requires some concentration, also good for keeping you present and in the moment. And if your children are just chasing the bubbles that you are blowing, that is good too. Running, being outside in the fresh air, playing with mum – all of which, I think, are things your children will love doing.
An indoor alternative can be building Lego, or playing a board game. Both require you to sit down and focus on something, and will, by nature, calm you and make you feel more present. And by doing these activities together, you are showing your children that not only do you love doing things like these with them, but also, that taking time out to play like this is something positive.
Do you practise mindfulness with your children? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @herfamilydotie