The coronavirus lockdown will have undoubtedly affected all of our mental health at some point. It is essential that we all take time to look after our own mental health, and in turn, we will then be best placed to look after our children (remember when they tell you on aeroplanes that you need to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others!) The most important thing in these times of uncertainty is to spend time with your family. Cuddle up together, take turns in reading, do puzzles, build dens, bake, watch TV together, take walks etc. When you are able, also take the opportunity to take time to do things for yourself such as curl up and read a book, go for a run and catch up with friends and family (following social distancing measures and regulations of course!) Below are some other activities and tips and tricks to support mindfulness for all members of the family!
If your child begins to display anxiety or becomes overwhelmed, encourage them to try some of the relaxing/grounding mindful activities below. The more that they are practised, the easier it will become to relax and calm the mind.
Direct your attention to something eg. Your feet! Notice how your feet feel touching your socks, notice how they feel when you wiggle them; can you feel each toe individually? This helps divert attention away from anxious thoughts and calms body and mind.
Direct your attention to all the textures you can see in the room, all the lines and then all the colours. This helps to distract the mind and helps calm you down.
3. Breath Counting
Count in slowly for 4 and out for 8. This helps focus your attention and calms you down by slowing the breathing. The longer out breath helps to release more CO2 and the slower breathing helps to slow heart rate and calm body and mind.
4. Belly Breathing
This helps to get much more oxygen into the body, slows the breathing and calm the body and mind. It also helps focus the attention away from any anxious thoughts.
5. Finger Breathing
Use one of your fingers on one hand to trace around each finger on the other hand, breathing in and out slowly as you do so. Concentrate your attention on the sensation as this will distract the mind and the breathing will calm your body and mind.
Imagine blowing your worries away in bubbles or them floating away on leaves in the stream. You could picture putting all your worries into a balloon, blowing the balloon up, tying it up and watch it float away.
7. Positive affirmations
Practice saying a positive phrase to yourself such as ‘I am focused, I am calm, I can do it’. This will help with a positive mindset.
8. Body Scan
Start at the top of your body and tune into and notice how each part of your body is feeling. This is a really good grounding and calming activity.
Additional Links and Support
For the next few weeks, Mindful Schools will be offering free mindfulness classes for kids! Join us online – for mindful activities, mindful movement, read-alouds – and let’s have fun exploring mindfulness together.
Smiling Mind <https://www.smilingmind.com.au/> - Smiling Mind is a great mindfulness app/website for the whole family.
Cosmic Kids <https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga> a and mindfulness for kids ages 3+.
Covibook – an interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under, designed to help children explain and draw the emotions that they might be experiencing during the pandemic: https://www.mindheart.co/descargables