Have a Mindful New Year with your Kids

by Jodi Gilray-Szostak, PT, DPT, c/NDT, Jodi Gilray Pediatric Therapy

Mindfulness comes with a wealth of benefits that can help you and your child in almost any area of life. It is a golden ticket when it comes to calming down, reducing anxiety, easing depression and minimizing disruptive behavior.

Additionally, having a more mindful new year improves academic performance and sharpens focus and attention. Even kids with ADHD can experience improvements with mindfulness practices.

Ask More Questions

What better way to stay grounded than to ask your child about their current experience? Open-ended questions are not only mindful, they support language development and encourage critical thinking.

Consider what your child may be experiencing at the moment in relation to activities, emotions and sensory experiences; formulate your questions from there. Be intentional about asking more questions from your child, but also make sure you can answer these questions.

Meditative Nature of Simple Pen and Paper

Coloring, journaling and filling out gratitude journals are all mindful activities good for adults and kids.

Putting pen to paper has a way of creating mindful moments. Schedule some quiet time daily to accomplish these activities. One of the best times to schedule journal, gratitude and color time is right before bed.

Replacing before-bed tech time can greatly improve sleep. 

Each Mindful Bite

Focus on the present moment with help from food. Eating is a delightful sensory experience enjoyed by friends and family. Really savor the food you’re eating, focus on the flavors.

Include your kiddo. Make mealtime a discussion by asking them about how the food tastes, and encourage them to reach around 20 to 30 chews with each bite.

You’ll realize how much better food tastes with a little mindfulness. Keep the tech away from the table too (including the TV).

Set a 5-Minute Meditation Goal Each Day

Sit still, take deep breaths and keep those eyes closed. Invite your kiddo to join you. Even if they can only sit still for a few seconds, this activity teaches them about the value of setting aside time for mindfulness.

Setting an example can be great encouragement for your child. Eventually, your child may want to join you in your meditation practice just because they are seeing you do it. Don’t be afraid to experiment and take this time with a little playfulness and a sense of humor.