Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Let’s start with these simple ways to attune children with their bodies. At a young age, humans naturally curious about the strength and flexibility of their bodies. It’s a great age to introduce body-mind awareness as a valuable way to take care of themselves.
Have the kids go somewhere quiet and familiar, a place they feel safe. Next, tell them to try one of the following poses:
* The Superman: this pose is practiced by standing with the feet just wider than the hips, fists clenched, and arms reached out to the sky, stretching the body as tall as possible.
* The Wonder Woman: this pose is struck by standing tall with legs wider than hip-width apart and hands or fists placed on the hips.
Ask the kids how they feel after a few rounds of trying either of these poses. You may be surprised.
Instruct your kids to turn-on their “Spidey senses,” or the super-focused senses of smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch that Spiderman uses to keep tabs on the world around him. This will encourage them to pause and focus their attention on the present, opening their awareness to the information their senses bring in.
This is a classic mindfulness exercise and encourages observation and curiosity—great skills for any human to practice.
Tell your kids that you will be going on a safari: their goal is to notice as many birds, bugs, creepy-crawlies, and any other animals as they can. Anything that walks, crawls, swims, or flies is of interest, and they’ll need to focus all of their senses to find them.