EMOTIONAL REGULATION IN CHILDREN: 10 steps to instilling mindfulness in our kids

EMOTIONAL REGULATION IN CHILDREN: 10 steps to instilling mindfulness in our kids

Developing mindfulness in children is a valuable skill that can help them cultivate self-awareness, manage emotions, and enhance overall well-being. By instilling healthy coping mechanism and mindfulness in children we are working towards establishing healthy regulated adults. Here are my top 10 tips to achieving this!

  1. Be a role model: Children learn by observing and imitating their parents or caregivers. Model mindfulness by practicing it yourself. Staying regulated yourself is key, children watch how you deal with adversities in life and replicate it. Be open about emotional struggles in order for them to do the same. Also showing them how you engage in mindful activities, such as deep breathing, meditation, or being fully present in the moment.
  2. Practice mindful activities together: Engage in age-appropriate mindfulness activities with your child. This can include guided meditations, mindful breathing exercises, or mindful movement like yoga or stretching. Make it a fun and interactive experience that you can do together.
  3. Encourage sensory awareness: Help children develop their senses by encouraging them to notice and describe what they see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Encourage them to engage their senses fully in different activities, such as nature walks, art projects, or cooking. This builds connection with self, and self awareness which is key in them recognising their own internal processes and patterns.
  4. Teach deep breathing: Teach children deep breathing techniques to help them regulate their emotions and calm their minds. Practice belly breathing, where they breathe deeply into their belly and exhale slowly. Teach them to use deep breaths as a tool to find calmness in challenging situations. Remember these skills should be practiced in happy, easier moments so when overwhelm or hard situations arise it becomes a default tool to use.
  5. Foster gratitude and appreciation: Cultivate a sense of gratitude and appreciation in children by encouraging them to identify and express things they are grateful for each day. This can be done through regular conversations, keeping gratitude journals, or creating gratitude collages. This creates a cup half full mindset, a growth mindset and a resilient one.
  6. Create mindful moments: Integrate mindful moments into daily routines. For example, before meals, encourage a moment of gratitude or reflection. Before bedtime, guide them through a relaxation exercise to help them unwind and prepare for sleep.
  7. Practice active listening: Teach children the importance of active listening. Encourage them to give their full attention when someone is speaking to them and to notice the nuances of the conversation. This fosters present-moment awareness and empathy. Remember you need to model this first and it looks like putting your phone down when your child is speaking to you.
  8. Nurture a non-judgmental attitude: Help children develop a non-judgmental attitude towards themselves and others. Teach them to observe their thoughts and emotions without attaching judgments or labels to them. Encourage them to approach themselves and others with kindness and understanding.
  9. Incorporate mindfulness into storytelling and play: Use storytelling or imaginative play to introduce mindfulness concepts. Create stories or play scenarios that involve being present, managing emotions, or practicing kindness and compassion. You can also use story telling for things specific about the child such as bullying as school. Use different characters who are experiencing the same thing, and highlight how they deal with the problem, you will notice your child may say something like oh mum it sounds like your talking about me, and a great response will be really? well perhaps you can take something from the story and use it. 

Remember to make mindfulness activities enjoyable and age-appropriate for children. Be patient and consistent in your approach, and gradually increase the complexity and duration of mindfulness practices as children grow older and become more comfortable with the concepts

Happy Regulating, Jassmine.

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