We live in a stressful world. Kids are no exception. As parents, we want to instill a sense of calm, safety, and confidence in our children, but how can we accomplish this goal? Luckily, mindfulness is an accessible and effective tool for helping kids develop a sense of calm and confidence. There are many methods you can use to help your kids practice mindfulness.
Young children need us to help them develop their coping skills. They cannot help themselves by imitating their parents, and they will not learn by watching. Instead, they need someone to guide them. As a first step, it is useful to increase your child’s sense of competence. Don’t ignore his occasional temper tantrums, or pretend they are normal. But do acknowledge them. You are the adult, so take charge.
Then, use mindful repetition to help your child develop his own coping mechanism. Tell him clearly what will happen, and, when appropriate, give him a chance to prepare.
Provide a caring attitude by allowing him to express his emotions. Don’t try to repress them, but accept them without judgment. Don’t say “Stop crying” or “Don’t scream.” Instead, say “It’s okay to feel that way,” or “That sounds scary,” or “You have a lot of feelings.”
Allow your child space to develop his own coping skills. If he is frustrated, help him identify his feelings, and then give him a chance to express them, without interrupting or rejecting him.
Help your child learn to regulate his body. Let him choose the strategy he uses to calm down. It’s very important that your child learns to regulate his body himself. Not all children will calm themselves down the same way. Letting your child choose the strategy he uses to calm down gives him power. When he gets angry, he will think, “I have to calm down. I know how to do it.” And when he does it, he will be calmer.