Nurturing mindfulness in your grandchildren gives them a gift they can use for life.
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The hot days of summer are here, and with three small children at home, peaceful moments are bound to be in short supply at my grandchildren's house! Especially for my daughter-in-law, who is home all day while my son works ridiculously long hours. The heat and humidity in their home state is unbearable for my SoCal constitution, so I avoid visiting during the summer. I try to make up for not being on the ground to help out by providing activities they can do with minimal parental commitment.
This month, I sent a virtual mindfulness retreat. The simplest definition of mindfulness is paying full attention to something, and paying attention is a crucial skill for kids! Helping them learn to focus, breath and relax will help them deal with frustration and stress, something that is part of everyone’s life. What did I include?
First, Yogi, a yoga card game that includes a variety of kids’ activities.
While yoga and mindfulness are two distinct things, they share many elements. Yoga helps kids pay attention to their bodies and breath. It’s also a great activity when it’s too hot for a bike ride! The report from the ground was that they loved it.
Next, My First Mandalas Coloring Book and new markers from Crayola, Pip-Squeaks Skinnies. These washable markers are designed for little hands, and the box of 64 colors was met with complete and utter delight. SO MANY COLORS! Despite that, a certain three-year-old still colored her first mandala almost entirely in pink.
And of course, books!
Mindfulness for Little Ones: Playful Activities to Foster Empathy, Self-Awareness, and Joy in Kids by Hiedi France, Ed.D will require a parent or grandparent to read and lead the activities, but adds another tool to the arsenal of ways to spend long summer afternoons.
The adorable board book, Mindfulness Moments for Kids: Breathe Like a Bear by Kira Willey, shares mindful meditation exercises for the very young. Anni Betts’ beautiful illustrations featuring a sweet bear cub show children how to feel calm.
A classic, The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown, asks children to think deeply about the importance of everyday objects. The simple concept and colorful pictures resonated with the grandchildren: it’s been a repeated request at story time since they got it.
And finally, A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles, by Thich Nhat Hanh, shares the concept of mindfulness in a way that children can understand and practice. Pebble mediation is a simple practice that can relieve stress, increase concentration, nourish gratitude, and help children deal with difficult emotions. It’s a book we might all want to read!
I also sent a tiny gift for my daughter-in-law: some soap that smells like one of her favorite teas. My hope is that when she uses it, she will breathe deeply, remember she is loved, and find a mindful moment of joy—or at least peace!
Like any other skill, mindfulness takes practice to develop. Introducing it while they are young will help your grandchildren learn to understand their emotions and develop a useful tool for handling life’s stress.
Do you practice mindfulness? Have you shared it with your grandchildren? Let us know in the comments!