Parenting Connection: Starting a mindfulness practice with your child

Parenting Connection

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: Starting a mindfulness practice with your child

According to child development experts, mindfulness is having present moment awareness, slowing down and paying attention to the here and the now – and a great way for kids to understand and learn about their feelings and emotions.

The formal practice of mindfulness includes an intentional commitment of time, anywhere from one minute to 45 minutes or more every day. There are many formal ways parents can use to integrate mindfulness into their children’s lives — like sitting meditation and yoga — and informal, like going for a walk or taking a shower and having them pay attention to the sounds and sensations of the action.

“Being able to have that mindfullness moment can help increase focus, helps reduce anxiety and stress, and it can also help to connect as a family together,” says child development expert with Michigan State University Kendra Moyses. “It’s really important to think about how you can build a indfulness routine, especially with all that’s going on with the pandemic and any additional stress that young children may be feeling as well.”

The following are ways from the Michigan State University Extension on how to create a mindfulness routine at home with your kids:

*Start small. Begin by trying to add one mindfulness practice at a time to avoid overwhelming yourself or your child.

*Schedule it. Make mindfulness part of your routine.

*Set reminders. Find a way to remind yourself and your child about your new routine.

*Make it fun. Mindfulness should not feel like a chore, it should be something relaxing that you look forward to doing — and try to find the mindfulness techniques that work for you and for your child.

*Lead by example. Show your child you are practicing mindfulness too and do it as a family.

Child development experts say mindfulness is especially helpful for children and has shown to help kids build skills for social awareness, self-management, strong relationships, and decision-making.

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