10 tips on how to include mindful activities with your child before bedtime…
With so much on your mind at any given time, it is often difficult to focus on the task in front of you or the story your child is trying to tell you – being in the present moment has never felt so challenging. When you go to bed, after scrolling Facebook feeds or Instagram photos, you often find yourself wondering where has the day gone? How much you didn’t do! How you wish you had more time to yourself or how you would’ve liked to spend more time with your child after work.
Be. Here. Now. With the demands that are attached to everyday life, mindfulness is not only needed, it is necessary. Mindfulness for you, your child, and collectively for the entire family. To let go, to breathe and to accept.
It is important to recognise that children also have busy schedules, have to meet expectations and experience various feelings and emotions throughout the day. Consequently, it is as important for children to reflect, to breathe and to find the blessings at the end of the day.
With so much talk of mindfulness currently, it is easy to perhaps feel overwhelmed by the concept or misunderstand the purpose and benefits of such practices. You see, being mindful might not take away the stresses of the day, it might not change the challenges we face and it might not eliminate the things we don’t want in our lives.
What it can do though, is bring calmness to you as a person and your family, it can bring acceptance to the situation you are faced with and acceptance of each other, but most importantly it can improve the mental and physical health of your family.
Essentially mindful activities involve – thinking, feeling, being, doing, saying and noticing.
The result of participating? Happier, more connected families, days that are easier to manage and eventually with practice, it will give you the ability manifest the life you want to live.
Engaging in mindful activities with your child further creates the habits you want your child to have as they take their own individual journey through life. So, as an individual, as someone who has the demanding yet rewarding task of parenting, how can you add daily mindfulness into your home for yourself and your child?
The below tips are focused on family activities before bedtime. Research indicates that a good bedtime routine sets the tone for the kind of sleep you will have and the kind of day that will follow. This is the reason why a bedtime routine that involves family time and mindfulness collectively could be ideal for your needs. Here are 10 tips to try:
1. Start with yourself! Self-Care is always a priority and it is the greatest gift you can give yourself as well as your family. Take time out for yourself in the form of quiet time, breathing exercises or guided audio’s. Having said that, not all mindful methods will work for everyone; so try not to expect your child to engage in activities that you are not comfortable doing yourself. If this is new to you, allow yourself the time to explore and remember that it takes at least 21 days for a habit to be formed. Mindfulness is not always relaxing or easy, but you do it anyway.
2. Ensure that your child is in bed half an hour prior to the usual set sleep time. Being in bed is a reminder of rest time so it is a great way to get your child to relax the mind and body without forcing it. Use that half an hour to do a few mindful activities with your child.
3. Make sure that gadgets such as Ipads, TV’s and phones are switched off– including your own (you know why).
4. Play calming music in the background – sensory music will help set the tone and calm everybody’s busy mind.
5. Encourage your child to reflect on the day they had but, do not force it. If your child does not feel like talking, ask them to rate out of 10 what kind of day they had. Then ask them what they think can be done to improve the rating. This will help your child to be more mindful about his/her actions and thought processes throughout the following day.
6. Do belly breathes with your child – Always with a smile!
7. Take your child on a mind holiday or guide your child to release tense muscles from head to toe – A mind holiday guides your child through a process that will help unwind and destress. Your child’s mind will travel to a “happy place”. Visualising these places not only calms the mind, it also brings awareness to bodily sensations. By picturing dreams and goals being achieved mentally, your child will feel motivated to work towards that.
8. Let your child do a mind holiday on you! Give them the power to be creative and an opportunity to show you what they have learnt. There is so much to learn from children as well. Their minds are full of creativity and they are often not given the chance to use their imagination. This also gives you time to stop doing and start listening.
9. Share reasons to be grateful. Our minds are programmed to focus on negative thoughts. Gratitude will make you stop for a moment to find the beauty in each day.
10. End off with simple expressions of love and acceptance – a hug. We underestimate the profound benefits of human touch. Too often we focus on words, and not actions. Never forget how to show your loved ones how amazing being in the present moment can make you feel and how much you value the moments spent with them.
Again, mindfulness cannot be a one size fits all. We each have our own preferred ways of thinking, feeling, being, doing, saying and noticing. What is important is to create a routine for yourself and your child that includes positivity, awareness, focus, calmness and emotional intelligence regardless of space and time.
Kids Life Studio® Certified Coach
Owner of Meraki Kids Life Studio®
Love. Creativity. Soul.