Mindfulness isn’t just for adults – it’s for kids too. In fact, by age four, children are able to learn skills that help teach them to increase their well-being, manage stress, and build self-compassion. But as a parent, you may feel slightly overwhelmed or lost on where to start, especially in the mornings. And that’s okay. Mornings can be incredibly stressful. But this article will teach you what you need and provide several mindful morning routine ideas for kids. Let’s dive in!
12 Benefits of a Mindful Morning Routine for Kids
Mindfulness has several benefits for everyone, including children. Here are a few to help you increase your awareness and ignite your motivation to teach children how to follow a mindful morning routine.
- Increased focus
- Reduced stress
- Classroom participation
- Increased compassion
- Decreased levels of depression, anxiety, and outbursts
- Improved academic performance
- Increased ability to resolve conflict
- More self-control
- Higher self-esteem
- Improved ability to regulate emotions
- Improves communication skills
- Develops a positive outlook on life
8 Mindful Morning Routine Essentials for Kids
Every child is different, and what mindfulness activities they like will be unique to their personality. However, there are a few essentials to get started to spark and maintain their interest.
- Yoga mats will aid meditation, gentle yoga, and breathing exercises and instill a quiet place to teach calmness.
- Blindfolds are great for teaching mindful eating and allowing them to connect to their senses.
- Balloons and bubbles are two tools to teach breathing and textures.
- Journaling is a mindful technique for self-expression that will work better with older children.
- Creative tools like coloring books, pinwheels, or toys can facilitate focused attention.
- Select the right time to practice mindfulness. For example, pick a quiet time during the day with no distractions. Yet as they learn and stick to it, they will discover how to be present even during periods of stress or chaos.
- Patience is key. The goal of mindfulness is to connect to the present, reduce stress, and increase positive emotions. Therefore try to be patient and show them that it’s a skill that needs time to adopt.
- Charts help everyone stay organized, especially children who are prone to anxiety. If they have a chart that details their morning routine and what they need to follow, they will feel less stressed and more relaxed.
8 Mindful Morning Routine Ideas for Kids
1. Restful sleep
The key to a successful mindful morning routine starts with adequate sleep. Think about it. When we’re tired, we feel agitated, grumpy, and unfocused – it’s the same with children. Therefore, follow a consistent bedtime to help them receive the 10-12 hours of sleep they need. If they’re struggling to drift off, follow a guided meditation before bed.
2. Prepare the night before
It’s easier to be mindful if everything is organized and prepared the night before. You’re also less likely to run into obstacles or experience a temper tantrum if everything is calm. For example, you can make lunches, locate shoes, organize their backpack and books, and check the weather and their homework. You can also delegate their assistance in decision-making to teach agency and trust, such as letting them choose their clothes the night before (if appropriate).
3. Reserve time to connect
When your kids wake up, spend a few minutes connecting. Use this short window to bond and teach them the lesson of valuing time instead of rushing from one stressor to the next. For example, connect by hugging and teaching them to focus their attention on the smell of your perfume, the warmth of the hug, or the texture of your clothes. Or you can take a few moments to mindfully breathe and stretch together. This time will allow you to receive mindful contact before the day begins.
4. Mindful chores
Making the bed or brushing their teeth are excellent opportunities to squeeze in some mindfulness and even a game. For example, make the bed together and play a feeling game. And as you fold the blanket over the bed, check in and ask how they’re feeling. Practice your feeling words and say, “Right now, I feel happy, upset, sad, or relaxed”. Next, teach them how to brush their teeth with mindful awareness. Ask them how the bristles feel across their teeth, the taste of their toothpaste, etc. Every chore can be mindful and fun if you get creative.
5. Mindful eating
While mornings tend to be quick and chaotic, especially with children, take full advantage of moments where you can slow down. Breakfast time is one of those opportunities. As they sit down for breakfast, teach them how to engage all of their senses with their meal. For example, ask them to describe what the food smells like, looks like, maybe feels like in their hands (if possible), and of course, how it tastes.
After you eat, you have an opportunity to teach your children how to practice gratitude. You can take turns saying what you’re grateful for and turning it into a playful game. For example, I am grateful for my meal, my favorite shoes, etc. Gratitude is a mood changer that can uplift a rocky morning and show them the value of being appreciative of the world around them.
Mornings are not always peaceful, let’s be honest. And it’s more often than not that our children will experience a temper tantrum or two. When this happens, use the opportunity to check in and practice their feeling words. Once they’ve calmed down, use a moment to play the heartbeat game.
- Have them sit down and place a hand over their heart
- Instruct them to close their eyes and focus only on their heartbeat
- Ask them, “How does it feel? Can you hear it?”
This exercise teaches children to focus and create a mind-body connection. It’s also helpful for more advanced mindful activities like yoga, body scan, or deep breathing.
8. Keep calm
Children are more likely to connect to the present moment if their environment is calm. But parenting is certainly stressful and challenging, so don’t beat yourself up if you lose your cool. Take a few breaths and return to the present moment. You can also communicate to your children using “I feel” to model emotional regulation and expand their emotional vocabulary. Additionally, if you’re feeling really stressed, pull out your favorite essential oil and show your child how aromatherapy can help you feel calmer and more relaxed. Teaching mindfulness to children is all about layering activities together and creative batching.
Mindfulness offers several opportunities to connect to the present moment and destress even in the mornings. But remember, don’t force it. As children develop and grow, so will their interests. Keep pivoting and shaping your activities to match their interests and ages. Over time, if practiced consistently, they’ll learn to love these mindful morning routine ideas for kids, and a few will become habitual.
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