Mindfulness is a meditative practise that can help you to focus on the present moment instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. It can help children with managing bad behaviour, concentration, hyperactivity and improve sleep. Mindfulness is not always about deep breathing, sitting in silence, yoga or meditation it can be easily made child friendly.
Psychologists use the term 'flow' to describe a persons state of mind when they are absorbed in an activity. Gardening can be a great way to get stuck into an activity and tap into this mind flow as they focus on caring for their new little garden. Don't have a garden? There are many plants you can grow inside the home such as herb gardens. Basil, mint and parsley thrive indoors and can be used for cooking too!
Baking requires a child's full attention and a lot can be learnt during baking too. It becomes a cooking lesson, maths lesson and science lesson all rolled into one! Smell and taste is an important part of mindfulness and being present in the 'now' and so baking with children is a great way for them to reduce stress levels, learn a new skill, spend time with their parents or carers and have something great to eat afterwards!
How about baking a batch of Jammy wheels?
Prep time: 15 minutes
Chilling time: 30 minutes
cook time: 10 minutes
ingredients and equipment:
(should be available all for under £5 if you don't have them in your cupboard)
200g of unsalted butter
100g of icing suger
1 egg yolk
1tsp vanilla extract
300g plain flour
A rolling Pin
1. Cream the butter and icing sugar together either with an electric whisk or by hand until the mixture is light and fluffy
2. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and combine together
3. Mix in the flour until you get a soft dough, it it's too sticky add some more flour
4. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to chill for at least half an hour
5. Heat the oven to 170C or gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking paper
6. Roll out half of the dough to approx 4mm thick (keep the rest in the fridge) on a lightly floured surface
7. Cut out shapes in the dough, around 7cm round. the classic jammy dodger is round but you can use any shape you like.
8. Roll and cut out the remaining half of the dough as step 7 and stamp out a whole in the middle in any shape you wish (the jam window)
9. place the biscuit on the tray and and bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until they turn a light golden colour
10. Let the biscuits cool on a tray to firm up
11. Spread a teaspoon of jam on the base of the biscuit and pop the windowed biscuit on top.
12. finally dust with icing sugar and enjoy!
Colouring has a number of health benefits for both adults and children. according to research in can induce a similar state to that produced by meditation. it is calming and helps to calm the brain, improve motor skills and increase concentration. There are lots of colouring books available in the shops now for adults and children but alternatively there are free print outs available online too.
Research has shown that playing with lego can benefit us mentally, yes that goes for adults too! Any repetitive activity can help strike the right balance between mental engagement and relaxation. This can also be the case for any other repetitive activities such as jigsaw puzzles or make jewellery with beads for example.
Spending time outside
Spending time connecting with nature is great for helping a busy mind and burn off some excess energy. Paying attention to the sounds and sights outside can help with patience and stillness and bring a child back to now when they are feeling overwhelmed in a situation. Making a list of things to look for in the garden or the local nature reserve is a great way to keep kids occupied.
If you have anymore mindfulness ideas and tips please share them in the comments box or on my facebook page!