Mindfulness teaches your child to not look at what they would like, but to focus on what is already there. It is very easy to look at someone else and be envious or jealous of something they have.
Loving-kindness meditation can develop goodwill, kindness, and warmth towards others and themselves. It has tremendous benefits — ranging from healthy well-being to improving emotional intelligence — benefits that can help your child grow into a kind, loving, and well-rounded individual.1
Mindfulness — Kind Attention2
Practicing mindfulness will teach your child to focus on their own or others’ positive characteristics. Even if they make a mistake or do something that is unkind, that doesn’t make them wrong or unkind forever. Things can always change, and these exercises will remind them of that. If you need help guiding your child through these exercises, you can check out this blog post.
1. Happy with myself (3-10mins)
- Sit down and feel how your breath gently moves your body. You may close your eyes.
- Think about something you are happy about or you are proud of. It could be something big or something small. (Imagine that a ladybird flies up to you. It lands on your arm. It’s a tiny ladybird with a nice smile. It walks up your arm on its tickly leg, right up to your ear. It tells you something you are good at.)
- How does it make you feel? Focus on your feeling of happiness or pride. (The ladybird is saying it to you again!)
- Keep breathing slowly and stay with your feelings.
- You can ask your child to write down the things they thought of after the exercise and save them so that they can look back on it. You can also let the ladybird say something good about someone else.
2. Little gems (3-10mins)
- Discuss with your child about things that you can be happy about. It can be something beautiful they saw, something they did, or something normal that we take for granted like your clothes being washed.
- Sit down and close your eyes. Feel how your breathing makes your body move.
- Now think about something that made you happy today. (Imagine it in front of you. It’s like you’re watching a film and you see it in front of you.)
- What are you feeling now that you’re thinking about it?
- Stay with that feeling and keep sitting like that for a while.
- Breathe in and out another 3 times, then open your eyes.
3. Top (2-5mins)
- Sit or lie down and look at your hand.
- Close your eyes. Hold your thumb with your other hand. (The thumb is always positive. Even when things aren’t going how you would like. In your thumb, there’s a little voice. That voice always knows something good, nice, or kind to say.)
- Think of something that you’re happy about. (From out of your thumb, comes a little voice that says something kind, nice, or good about you. Put your thumb next to your ear, then you can hear it.)
- Repeat this with your other fingers as well! Then repeat it on your other hand. You can repeat the same points again or think of another five.
- To finish up, let your hands rub each other warm.
- How do you feel now that you are thinking positive thoughts about yourself? Keep focus on that feeling for a while.
Mindfulness — Kind Wishes
These exercises will teach your child compassion and empathy. They will send loving, kind attention to themselves, someone else or the world around them.
Sometimes there are things that they don’t want anymore or something they would like to change. Instruct your child to try to avoid negative words, like “not”, “never”, or “less” in their wishes. They can learn how to turn these negatives around into positive statements.
Here are 2 exercises that can help with that:
1. Connection (2-5mins)
- Think up a wish for someone you are going to do this exercise with. If you’re doing this exercise with your child, talk about examples of wishes, or use a wish that works for everyone. (Imagine you could send a wish to someone through your finger by touching them gently.)
- Think of the wish for the person you’re doing the exercise with.
- Put the tip of both your index fingers against the top of both of their index fingers.
- Together, move your fingers slowly. Think about your wish for them while doing so.
- You can close your eyes during the exercise. (Imagine that your wish reaches them through your fingers.)
- Can you move your bodies now without losing that connection? What do you feel now?
- You can share your wishes for each other after and tell each other what feeling the wish gives you.
2. Sunbeam (2-20mins)
- Sit down comfortably. (Imagine that you can feel the warmth of the sun in your hands, just like a sunbeam.)
- Close your eyes. Bring your breathing down to your tummy, so it goes in and out. Maybe you can feel your chest moving too.
- Your heart is in your chest. If you want to, put your hands on your heart. Feel your heart beating.
- Think of a kind and nice wish for yourself (see the wish in front of you like a sunbeam shining towards your heart.)
- Keep repeating, seeing, and receiving the wish with every breathe.
- You can repeat this exercise for someone you know and like too — friends, mum, dad, grandpa, grandma, or someone else.
It is easier to be kind and to wish good things for others, but it is just as important to be kind and nice to yourself. These mindfulness exercises will not only teach your child self-love and acceptance that we can’t be good all the time, but also compassion and to turn negative statements into positive ones.
Keep an eye out on our blog for more mindfulness exercises that you can practice with your child!
- Seppälä, E. (2014). 18 Science -Based Reasons to Try Loving-Kindness Meditation. (Link)
- Smergen, I. (2018). Mindful at School.