Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, but creating a mindful “chill-ax” space at home may increase the benefits.
Even though mindfulness is easily practiced anywhere and at anytime, the benefits may be enhanced by designating a place where your child can “chill-ax” or take a brain break. The space doesn’t need to be large – just offer enough room for your child to be able to sit or lie down.
Here are few helpful tips when setting up your child’s chill-ax space:
Lighting. Light is important to learning and behavior. It helps regulate mood and affects cognitive performance. Indirect sunlight is best for learning and relaxing; open the blinds and let the light shine in. But not too much, dimly lit areas are best for chill-axing. If you don’t have a room with natural light, try using a fiber optic lamp. At Mindful Child, we love our LIFX smart bulbs in our overhead lights. We can easily dim them or change colors creating a relaxing vibe.
Essential Oils. Unpleasant odors make it difficult to relax. Essential oils can boost your child’s mood and create a relaxing spa-like atmosphere. An easy way to use oils in is by using an essential oil diffuser which will disperse oils throughout the room. You can also buy inhaler sticks and place them on a shelf with your child’s favorite calming scents. At Mindful Child, we only use therapeutic grade Young Living essential oils. Our favorites are Peace and Calming, Stress Away, and Lavender.
Cleanliness. Reduce clutter and keep the space organized. Too many choices tends to overwhelm and distract children. Having a limited choice of organized mindfulness tools will promote relaxation.
Comfort. Being comfortable is an important component of relaxation. Bean bags such as Targets sensory friendly Cocoon Seat are perfect for breathing and practicing mindfulness.
Small Space. Children enjoy small enclosed spaces. It helps them feel safe and reduces visual stimulation. A Teepee or space created with the Nugget (original play couch) is perfect for mellowing out and finding inner peace, tranquility and calm.
Your child can learn lots of evidence-based ways to practice mindfulness by joining us for an aerial yoga camp or class. We infuse every activity with movement, breath and mindfulness.
This holiday season shop thoughtfully and locally – give the
gift of mindfulness!
Holiday shopping can be stressful—especially if you don’t plan ahead. But the holiday season does not have to put such a heavy strain on your wallet and schedule. Consider these gift ideas this year — gifts that encourage mindfulness, promote relaxation and will have a positive impact on the your child’s well-being.
Here are a few handpicked gift ideas:
Mindful Gift Pick #1 – Mindful Child Aerial Yoga Hammock. Who doesn’t love hanging upside down? Our studio grade (this means they are high quality) hammocks are perfect Christmas gifts. They are safety rated and come in a variety of colors.
Mindful Gift Pick #2 – Meddy Teddy. Best yoga mate to your kids. A playful way to get little ones into yoga and meditation. Meddy Teddy is a pose able bear who knows 100’s of Yoga poses.
Mindful Gift Pick #3 – Winter Aerial Yoga Camp. We’ve added a mini camp over Christmas break. Three fun filled days of spinning, climbing and hanging upside down. Camp meets for two hours daily.
Mindful Gift Pick #4 – Late Winter Aerial Yoga Session. Our new session is online and ready for sign-up. Best of all the price is discounted until December 4th!
Mindful Gift Pick #5 – Essential Oil Roll-ons. Young Living has an excellent selection of roll-ons that make perfect stocking stuffers. My personal favorites are Tranquil and Valor.
Mindful Gift Pick #6 – A Journal. Science tells us listing three things you are grateful for daily can make you happier and healthier. Big Life Journal has wonderful journals for all ages.
Mindful Gift Pick #7 – A Buddha Board. Write down your worries with a bamboo brush and watch them slowly evaporate while you take deep breaths.
These gifts are meant to inspire healthy living, allowing you to empower your little ones to learn healthy habits for life. What better gift to give this holiday season?
This breathing technique is referred to as “three-part breath” because of how the breath enters the abdomen, diaphragm, and chest. Children often breathe with only the top portion of their lungs, which means they are missing out on the benefits of using their entire lungs to breathe. Breathing in and out at full capacity provides a sense of balance and calm.
In aerial yoga, Elevator Breath pairs well with Fish Pose and Mermaid Pose. However, it can be done in a seat position such as Bucket Seat Pose as well.
What are the Benefits?
Elevator Breath increases children’s awareness of their breath. Placing hands on the belly, helps kids to bring their breath all the way to their abdomen. It activates the brain’s relaxation system, which sends an instant calm feeling throughout the body. Placing the hands on the belly and heart allows children to feel their breath, which helps with focus, stress-relief and mindfulness.
What to Say.
Lay on your back, place one hand on the heart and one hand on the belly.
Notice your breath and your heartbeat. Is it fast, medium, or slow?
Take a deep breath in through your nose. Feel your belly, rib cage, and the heart center rise beneath your hands.
As you breathe out, feel your belly, rib cage, and heart center fall. Do you feel the elevator going up and down with each breath?
Start to make your elevator go even slower by making your breath slower.
Repeat nine times. Notice your breath and heartbeat. Have they changed?
Elevator Breath is one of the breathing techniques we use in our aerial yoga classes. Mindful breathing can help children become more aware of their feelings, this awareness helps them to manage big emotions.
Mindfulness is paying attention with our senses, with kindness. Meddy Mindfulness requires your child’s full attention. Each child will mindfully focus on Meddy Teddy, a pose-able yoga teddy bear. Focusing on Meddy Teddy is fun and engaging, which helps children to slow down and focus on the present moment.
What are the Benefits?
Meddy Teddy Mindfulness enhances mindful awareness and is calming. When practiced regularly, mindfulness can improve attention, cognition, emotions, and behavior.
What to Say.
Mindfulness is focusing on what is happening, right now, with our five senses – seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting.
Meddy Mindfulness helps you pay attention to your senses so you can feel focused and relaxed.
Place Meddy is front of you in Easy Seated Pose.
Start by noticing what Meddy looks like. What color is he? Are his eyes open or closed?
Next, put Meddy on your lap. Is he soft or hard? Warm or cold? What else do you notice about how Meddy feels?
Bring Meddy up by your nose. Take in a big breath. What do you smell?
Place Meddy in your favorite yoga pose. As you adjust him, listen very mindfully. Does he make a sound? Do your favorite pose with him. Notice what you hear.
We are going to skip taste since Meddy is not food. Instead let’s use our mindfulness detective skills and see if we can notice one thing about Meddy we haven’t notice before.
What did you notice?
Want to learn more ways to be mindful with Meddy Teddy? Sign up for a aerial yoga class or our online kid’s yoga teacher training! Module Three has Meddy Teddy breathing exercises, cards and games!
You might think Instagram serves as simply a playground to waste time scrolling through pretty pictures, but did you know that there are some excellent educational accounts you can follow to get your daily dose of fun, plus learn some great factual knowledge?
Here are some of our favorite picks for wholesome, educational content related to children:
MeddyTeddy. Meddy Teddy is a mindful teddy bear who does yoga. This account posts uplifting quotes, yoga poses and mindfulness related content. It is super cute and kids love Meddy.
TheMovementMama. The MovementMama instagram account is run by Kailee, a pediatric physical therapist at Lee Ann Britain Development Center (they hire really good therapists). Kailee’s account empowers parents through play-based movement. This account focuses on infants and toddlers and provides great educational content to parents.
SesameStreet. Its mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger, kinder – in more than 150 countries around the world! What more could a parent ask for?
EmilyPriceWellness. Emily is a yoga teacher and wellness professional. She posts a variety of wonderful content related to self-care and wellness. She emphasizes a healthy lifestyle through movement, food and all things health related.
Mindful Child Mindful Child Aerial Yoga also has an instagram account, we focus on movement, breath, and mindfulness for children. Our mission is to provide brain-based interventions that are fun for the whole family.
In summary, Instagram is more than just pretty pictures, hashtags, and videos. It has a variety of educational accounts for parents to follow to help with a home therapy program, brain breaks, or family time. Best of all it is free.
With the stress and uncertainty in the world today mindfulness resources are needed more than ever. Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effects of mediation and mindfulness on physical and psychological health. Mindfulness can help your child develop an inner calm and happiness. Even though using an app to be mindful seems contrary to yoga and mindfulness, desperate times require desperate measures. The coronavirus has closed avenues to yoga and mindfulness in person and left us in a world of social distancing, requiring us to step out of our comfort zones and try new ways to practice mindfulness. Here are a few of my favorite mindfulness apps:
Smiling Minds. This FREE app was developed by psychologists and educators and has mindfulness programs from age seven to adults.
Headspace. The Headspace app teaches meditation and mindfulness in just a few minutes a day. It offers breathing techniques, visualization, and special programs for kids.
Stop, Breathe, & Think. This friendly app was made to guide people of all ages through meditations on mindfulness and compassion. It even has features designed specifically for kids.
Breathe, Think, Do, with Sesame. Sesame Street is a wonderful resource for not only mindfulness, but growth mindset as well. Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame is a research-based app that helps your child learn Sesame’s strategy for problem-solving to teach his monster friend to take deep breaths!
According to science, yoga has a multitude of health and mood benefits. The benefits of yoga are boosted if you pair it with mindfulness. If you want to add a little movement to your child’s mindfulness practice, there are several places to practice yoga online. For the next few weeks, online yoga may be the only option. Here are a few of my favorite online yoga resources for families.
Cosmic Kids. Cosmic Kids offers free online adventures for kids. The Cosmic Kids website has lesson plans and guided meditation scripts that are reasonably priced. There is even a free Cosmic Kids lesson plan sample!
Yoga Ed. Yoga Ed teaches the basics of yoga and mindfulness through breathing exercises, yoga poses, games, visualizations, and relaxation activities. They have different yoga themes and age ranges to choose from, making this an easy way for kids to have a yoga and mindfulness practice at home.
Yoga and mindfulness are powerful ways to calm down kids and sharpen their minds. Even though times may be scary and unprecedented, remember to engage in self-care and model healthy lifestyle choices. Children learn by example…
The ancient yogi’s thought we had monkey minds, with our thoughts randomly jumping from branch to branch. But they also recognized that even the wildest little monkeys can be mindful too. Monkey Mindfulness allows children to act like monkeys and then use the calming power of their breath slow down.
What are the benefits?
Monkey bites are a healthy, fun snack for children. Bananas are full of potassium. Peanut butter has protein and healthy fats, making this a great snack for little growing bodies. Introducing a little chaos and then using the breath to calm the mind teaches children to self-regulate.
What to say.
We are going to pretend to be monkeys. Monkeys jump from branch to branch just like our thoughts sometimes do.
Stand up and jump across the room just like monkeys. Let’s hop on one foot, now the other foot. Wow, you were fantastic monkeys.
How can we calm our monkey minds? Right, with our breath! Sit in Easy Seated Pose and take ten big balloon breaths.
Mindfully eat some monkey bites. Look carefully at your banana. What do you see? Smell? What do you taste?
Now we are going to add something to dip our bananas in. I’m going to put a little powered peanut butter on your plate.
Using your mindfulness skills, be a food detective and notice how the peanut butter changed your banana.
Take a bite dipped in peanut butter. What do you see, smell, and taste?
How did it taste different from the first bite without the peanut butter?
Want your child to learn more ways to be mindful? Sign up for a camp or class!
Do you remember making paper creations as a child? Once you learned the initial folds the practice of folding the paper became calming and meditative. Origami is a peaceful art activity that can promote mindfulness in the form of a focused attention meditation. Focus is required to fold the paper correctly and your child’s sense of touch is activated keeping him engaged as he makes the folds. There is also the intrinsic reward of making something wonderful out of an ordinary piece of paper.
What are the Benefits?
Mindfold Butterfly helps children build patience, focus, and concentration. Mindfold Butterfly also enhances relaxation and eye hand coordination. This activity improves executive functioning skills and mindful awareness.
What to Say.
Let’s make a mindfold origami butterfly. Origami is an art activity where you fold paper to make amazing mindful creations. Remember to breathe in and out through your nose and really focus on your folds. Sometimes origami can be tricky if you haven’t done it before so we need to really engage all of our senses and be mindful. Remember to use kind words to yourself and keep trying even though it may be a little challenging. I’m going to play some music while we fold.
These are the steps to mindfully fold your paper:
Fold your origami paper in half (vertically). Then unfold it. Make sure there is a crease
Next, fold the paper in half (horizontally). Then unfold it.
Fold the top left point down to meet the bottom right point of the paper. It is a diagonal fold (making a triangle). Then unfold it.
Fold the top right point down to meet the bottom left point of the paper. It is a diagonal fold (making a triangle). Then unfold it.
Bring the two middle folds together (right and left middle of paper) and the paper will fold in to itself making a triangle.
Turn the triangle upside down.
Take the right corner and fold it in to make triangle. Take the left corner and do the same thing. The straight edges from the top should line up to make a diamond.
Turn it over so the triangle point is at the top and fold the bottom of the triangle up.
Tuck the tip that sticks out over the top down to make the head, but only do the top piece of paper. Turn it over. Unfold the triangle to make your bottom wings.
Behold your beautiful butterfly! Want to learn more ways to practice mindfulness? Sign-up for a Mindful Child camp! Camps are full of mindfulness and FUN!
Parents, if you need a visual step-by-step guide this YouTube tutorial will show you the origami butterfly folding steps.
Peaceful Pigeon Pose is a yoga restorative pose that is a deep hip stretch for children. If your child has tight hips, a gentler variation is doing this simple stretch on your back. This is a pose that is usually done at the end of a yoga class when hips are more open; thus, it may be better for you child to begin with the modified pigeon on their back and then move to the full version. Afterwards discuss the two versions of pigeon with your child and see which one resonated with them and why.
What are the Benefits?
Peaceful Pigeon stretches the hips, glutes, hamstrings and groin. Peaceful pigeon pose opens the hips. Pigeon pose promotes inner peace. It reduces stress and tension.
What to Say.
We are going to be Peaceful Pigeons. Lay on your back and cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Making a figure four. Flex your toes.
Now lift your knees up. Thread your arms through the triangle between your legs and clasp your hands around the back of your leg.
Breath in and out for 5 breaths.
Bring knees together and rock side to side for a moment before switching sides. Notice how you feel.
We are going to be Peaceful Pigeons one more time, but in this version our pigeon is going to sit up tall and puff out his chest.
Begin in Down Dog. Bring your right knee forward toward your right hand. Angle your knee to the right and slide your shin forward as much as comfortable.
Extend your left leg out long behind you. Try to not lean to one side or the other.
Take a deep breath in as you sit up tall. Breath in and out for three breaths.
Tuck your toes and come into Down Dog for a moment before switching side. Notice how you feel.
Peaceful pigeon can be done on the ground, in a hammock, or even facing a friend! If your child has tight hips or just needs a little stress reduction sign them up for one of our aerial yoga + mindfulness 12-week session!
Blo-pens combine mindful art and breathing all at once. Blo-pens give art an airbrushed look and require extra focus and concentration to create pictures. In the middle of a poster board write the word mindfulness in big letters then let the creativity begin. Allow your child to draw their mindfulness pictures with colored pencils and then color in the picture with the blo-pens.
Art and breathing combined double the calming efforts. Using blo-pens to color in pictures increases attention and decreases stress. Creating art boosts creativity, self-esteem, and your child’s artistic ability. Blo-pens enhance deep breathing and mindful awareness.
What to Say
We are going to make mindful art with our breath! Mindfulness is written in the middle of your poster board. Using colored pencils write words and/or draw pictures of your favorite mindfulness activities.
Then we will use the blo-pens to color in the pictures we are have drawn. For example, I wrote relax and I drew a picture of myself laying in mummy pose. I made a tree as it is one of my favorite yoga poses. I then wrote calm, balanced, and focused on the branches. I made a yoga hammock with a heart since I love aerial yoga.
Draw and/or write mindfulness activities that help you feel calm and happy. Choose your colors mindfully and notice what it feels like to color with the blo-pens.
Reflect on the activity, by asking, “How did using the blo-pens differ from drawing with the colored pencils? Was it harder or easier to focus?”