We are guilty of letting our minds race and think about something other than the task we are doing.
If you stop and think, most things you worry about never actually happen. Like adults, children often worry about things that are unlikely to happen. Thankfully, there is a technique that you can implement at home to try and reduce this thought process.
At its core, mindfulness focuses on nothing but the present such as your breathing or the sounds around you. Mindfulness also aims to help you focus on current thoughts, feelings and sensations as they are happening. Numerous studies have shown that practising mindfulness can help children (and adults!) calm down, focus and improve interpersonal skills. As we are in the summer holidays, I will discuss a few of my favourite outdoor mindfulness activities below.
Blowing bubbles is a straightforward, cost-effective yet effective breathing activity. Before your child begins, instruct them to focus on their breathing. Awareness of our breathing patterns is a core element of practising mindfulness; if we can calm our breathing, we can calm our minds.
Children love being outside. If you lay out toys and let children roam, they are more likely to start pulling grass rather than play with the toys. Watering plants and weeding are repetitive tasks and help focus on the present, another foundation of mindfulness. Gardening also helps promote empathy and responsibility; you may even get your weeding done!
Reading is a great mindfulness activity, which can be made more special by reading outside. The surrounding sounds, smells and sensations of a light breeze only magnify an already relaxing activity. Getting lost in a good book is a fantastic method of only focusing on the present and not letting thoughts wander.
Belly Buddies is another simple yet effective activity to implement. Ask your child to get a small teddy/beanbag and lie outside. Place the item on their belly and ask them to focus on it as it rises up and down with each breath. This activity is particularly beneficial for children that find it challenging to maintain focus.
Go on a nature walk around the garden to search for insects. Ask the children to focus on their senses (their spidey senses, as I like to joke). Ask them to use some of their senses if they find an insect. What does it look like? What colour is it? What does it feel like? Etc.
Sometimes we are guilty of eating without ever focusing on the flavours of our food. It could be eating a snack while watching TV. Yes, we may enjoy it, but do we focus and appreciate the flavours? Give your child some food and ask: Is it sweet or savoury? How does it feel on your tongue? Do you have to crunch the food, or does it dissolve in your mouth?
These are a small selection of simple mindfulness activities you can do at home. You can create your own or research some that will suit your family. The key is to keep it simple and focus on nothing but the activity at hand.
Prevent Summer Learning Loss with Education Support Hub
Education Support Hub summer classes are now underway. Last year, many places were filled, so please get in touch with me early to avoid disappointment. It is vital that children switch off over the break; however, I feel it is equally important to have a weekly top-up session so they will not lose their progress over the long duration of the summer holidays.
Education Support Hub provides assistance to help primary school children reach their full academic potential. Your child's learning gaps and needs are identified following a free assessment, which will be communicated to you. They are then placed in a small group of similar academic abilities. The small group dynamic helps mirror a classroom environment whilst encouraging healthy competition! Each child is continually assessed throughout the session, immediately highlighting any areas of concern. I support children from Primary 4 to year 8, including Transfer Test preparation.
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