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5 mindfulness techniques for kids to manage stress, develop empathy

Hindustan Times logo
6 Aug 2023

With information overload and maddening competition, it's important for kids to learn holistic practices like mindfulness and meditation. "With the introduction of technology and the world growing at such a fast pace it has become increasingly important to cultivate mindfulness in children and ensure they grow up with better values and habits. This responsibility falls on the parents to equip their children with essential life skills to navigate challenges and foster their emotional well-being," says Raman Mittal, Co-Founder & CMO of Idanim, a meditation app. He suggested 5 tips for kids to manage stress and develop empathy.

1. Lead by example: Kids learn the most by observing people around them. If the parents practice mindfulness and demonstrate the behaviours they want their kids to adopt, the kids are more likely to follow in their footsteps. Parents should show them how they handle stress, stay present, and practice self-compassion.

2. Start with simple breathing exercises: Parents should encourage their children to take a few moments each day to focus on their breath and pay attention to the sensations of inhaling and exhaling. This could be the foundation of developing mindfulness. It will also help them develop a sense of calmness.

3. Encourage them to explore their senses: Kids should be prompted to engage with their senses mindfully and notice the 5 senses of taste, sight, smell, touch and sound. This will teach them how to stay grounded in the moment. Parents can do this exercise by asking their children to walk barefoot and feel the grass under their feet or by asking them to notice each and every color when they walk around.

4. Teach them how to listen mindfully: It is vital for a child to listen to others during a conversation. Parents can recite a story or a poem and ask their children to fully focus on what they are saying, without interrupting them. This practice nurtures attentive and empathetic communication skills in the child.

5. Be completely present: One of the most impactful ways to teach mindfulness to kids is by being fully present when practicing together. During mindfulness exercises, give your child undivided attention by putting away distractions like phones and turning off the television. Creating a calm and focused environment fosters a deeper sense of connection with your child during mindfulness sessions.

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