When you think of mindfulness, you typically think of being present in the moment. It has become increasingly important for adults, helping them to ease the symptoms of conditions such as anxiety and depression. However, did you know that mindfulness is also a great skill to teach our children?
Mindful play is a particularly great skill to pass down. According to experts, there are nine different principles which make up mindful living. At least five of these principles can directly relate to mindful play. There are a lot of benefits of encouraging and participating in mindful play, but the question is, why is it so important?
Here, you’ll discover the meaning behind mindful play and why it is crucial in your child’s development.
What Is Mindful Play?
Mindful play is basically play activities which focus on teaching both the child and the parent how to be present in the moment. It is thought to be beneficial to children’s development, aiding in their well-being and teaching them an important skill they will be able to use throughout their lives.
A growing amount of research is revealing just how beneficial mindful play can be. So, what exactly are the benefits?
Providing Benefits To Both Children And Parents
The great thing about mindful play is that it has benefits for both the parent and the child. For children, a growing amount of research is revealing that mindful play has a number of crucial benefits to their development. It is thought that regular mindful play can help:
- Improve your child’s attention span
- Teach them how to calm themselves down
- Make better decisions
The fact they will become calmer and better at focusing on the present, will really help to boost their development and become calmer, and emotionally more stable adults. So, what about the benefits mindful play delivers to parents? Well, if you partake in mindful play with your child you can expect to experience some of the following benefits:
- Love your child just as they are
- It releases your inner child
- It helps you to better connect with your child
- Discover more about your child
While obviously, you love your child regardless, it’s easy to get caught up in wishing they did certain things differently. However, mindful play helps you to see their differences as a blessing. It also allows you to let go of your adult responsibilities, if only for a little while. Letting out your inner kid and just enjoying a fun play session with your child can do you the world of good.
These are just some of the great benefits mindful play can have for both you and your child. The question is, how can you incorporate mindful play into your routine?
How To Incorporate Mindful Play Into Your Routine
Now you know some of the benefits mindful play can deliver, and why it’s important to your child’s development, how can you start incorporating it into your play routine?
Mindful hearing is a great activity to get you started. It involves playing your child different sounds, getting them to try and identify what the sounds are. This really helps to boost concentration and focuses your child’s mind on the present. Regular mindful hearing exercises will help your child to start incorporating it into their everyday lives, allowing them to easily connect to the present.
At its simplest form, mindful play simply requires you to let go of all distractions around you, focusing solely on playing with your child. If your mind starts to wander, bring it back to the present. Parents are so used to having a million and one thoughts rushing through their head, that it can be difficult to remain fully in the present. However, you’re not fully present with your child if you start to ponder what you’re going to make for dinner, or what tasks you need to complete by the end of the day. So, when you notice your thoughts focusing on anything other than the play session with your child, bring your focus back to the present.
Another great mindful play activity you can partake in, is mindful cooking. Kids love to help out in the kitchen, and it’s a great way to keep them grounded in the present. You can help them to identify different smells, colors, sounds and textures. Cooking together also helps you to bond more with your child and it can be pretty fun to do.
Depending upon how old your child is, mindful breathing can also be a great activity to add to your daily routine. Slow, deep breathing is associated with calming the mind, slowing the heartbeat and relaxing the body. There are a lot of different mindful breathing exercises suitable for children, so why not take a look on sites such as YouTube for a little inspiration on how to add this great practice into your play sessions.
Finally, you can practice mindful play outdoors too. This might be a little harder for your child, given how many distractions there are outdoors. However, getting out into the fresh air is great for both of you and it allows you to introduce your child to so many different sounds, smells and sights. Point out things you don’t usually notice about the area and challenge your child to find five things they can see, feel and hear.
These are just some of the great ways you can add mindful play into your daily routine. When done correctly, it can have fantastic benefits for both you and your child. Mindfulness is a very important skill in this day and age, helping us to calm the mind, center ourselves and feel more relaxed and in control of our lives. So, why not give mindful play a try, you might just find that you really enjoy it!