Mindfulness exercises are not just for adults, but can also be beneficial strategies for children to support emotional regulation, reduce overall feelings of stress and anxiety, and improve confidence when engaging in challenging situations. Listed below are some great mindfulness strategies that the whole family can participate in!

 What are mindfulness strategies and what do they help address?

 Yoga with relaxing music

    • This provides consistent proprioceptive input, which can help calm the body and support self-regulation. By pairing these static poses with deep breathing and soothing sounds, yoga can increase emotional and physical self-awareness and reduce overall feelings of stress, especially prior to transitioning to a highly stimulating environment. In addition to facilitating relaxation, yoga can also help improve bilateral coordination, dynamic balance, and muscle tone. 
  • Visualization
    • Visualization is a relaxation technique that can support your child in feeling less anxious or stressed, promote positive mental images and achieve a sense of control. This tool can be extremely beneficial for children who have poor  confidence or self-esteem during perceived challenging or impossible situations. 
      • Use positive visualization scripts (can be found online or on Youtube), and have your child visualize themself achieving something or how they can work through a difficult situation. Make a game out of it! Write down words with your child, place them in a hat, and practice creating a story to visualize that word. 
  • Aromatherapy
    • Essential oils can act as a helpful tool to support regulation, maintain optimal levels of arousal, improve sleep transitions, and relieve discomfort. Each scent can elicit different feelings or emotions. You can also have your child use roll-on essential oils, and have them pair the smell with deep breathing, so that they can practice this mindfulness tool in a variety of settings, such as school, a doctor’s office, or at a friend’s house. 
      • Lavender – soothing and comforting
      • Orange and lemon – cheerful and energizing
      • Peppermint – energizing and focusing
      • Chamomile – calming and soothing
  • Recovery and grounding techniques
    • 5-4-3-2-1 (say 5 things you see, 4 things you feel, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste)
      • This is a recovery technique that can help relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety by isolating each of your senses through observation. This a great tool to use when your child is feeling overwhelmed in highly stimulating environments, as it helps you re-focus on the present moment.
    • Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique 
      • This grounding technique involves the tightening and relaxing of your muscles, which provides regulating proprioceptive input and helps reduce tension, stress, and anxiety, while simultaneously calming your mind. 

 When is the best time to practice mindfulness?

  • Implement a morning yoga flow routine
  • Practice 5-4-3-2-1 during stressful or overstimulating environments (i.e. at a baseball game, in a loud restaurant, at school during an exam)
  • Have your child use an essential oil roll-on with deep breathing at school
  • Encourage  your child to practice progressive muscle relaxation while seated at their desk
  • Help your child practice visualization along with their internal coach during challenging or non-preferred situations to support their confidence