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From Breakfast to Bedtime: Daily Mindfulness Activities for Children


Child being mindful

Mindfulness is a profoundly effective tool that has gained significant appreciation in recent years. Defined by mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” mindfulness is both simple and transformative.


The appeal of mindfulness is its universal accessibility; it can be practiced anywhere, at any time. Teaching mindfulness to children can cultivate curiosity, self-compassion, and a deep understanding of their emotional and physical experiences.


Here are five straightforward strategies to integrate mindfulness into your child's daily routine:


Practice Mindful Eating During Breakfast

Introduce mindfulness through mindful eating. Encourage your child to observe their food's appearance, aroma, and sounds before they start eating. As they eat, ask them to explore the textures and flavors in their mouth, noting differences and changes as they chew. This practice helps children tune into their body’s signals of hunger and fullness.


Transform the Walk to School into a Walking Meditation

Walking meditation can be a playful and beneficial introduction to meditation for children. During the walk, encourage your child to focus on the sensations of their feet touching the ground. Extend their awareness to their five senses and the differences they notice in their surroundings. This can heighten their appreciation of the environment and their emotional responses to it.


Include Affirmations in Their Lunch Box

Positive affirmations can boost children's mood and outlook. Teach your child about the power of positive thinking, especially during tough times. Help them create a weekly affirmation, possibly as part of a craft project, and place it in their lunch box as a midday reminder of positivity.


Inquire About the Color of Their Day at Dinner

Instead of the usual “how was your day?”, ask your child to describe their day using colors. This method helps children associate colors with emotions, providing a vivid way to express and discuss their feelings and the day’s events. It encourages them to see emotions as fleeting, echoing Dr. Dan Siegel's teachings in The Whole Brain Child.


Focus on Breath Before Bedtime

Teach your child relaxation breathing techniques to calm their nervous system and prepare for sleep. Instruct them to inhale through their nose for four counts and exhale for eight counts, making the exhale longer than the inhale. Introduce a “breathing buddy” like a stuffed animal or a pillow to place on their stomach, which can serve as a visual aid in their breathing practice, empowering them to manage their own relaxation.

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