Another school year is almost done, and you and your Super Troopers are ready to go out and enjoy the summer sun! Summer is a great time to relax and take some time to appreciate the world around you, while getting in some exercise outdoors.
Mindfulness is all about becoming aware of your senses and how they are affected by the world around you. This is extra useful for children, because it can help them learn how to deal with complicated feelings they don’t quite understand yet, and help them regulate their emotions and calm themselves down.
Try some of the activities below with your little ones to make use of the extra time you can spend in nature over the summer months and learn mindfulness skills everyone can apply in their daily lives.
- Mindfulness Walk
- What can I feel beneath my feet?
- If I hold my hands out in front of me, can I feel the wind blowing?
- What can I see around me?
- What sounds can I hear?
- Is my body warm or cold? How does it move when I take a breath?
Try going on a walk around your neighbourhood, or go out to the mountains, beach or forest if you’re feeling a little more adventurous. Every so often, stop walking and take a break. You can sit on the ground or stay standing – whatever you find most comfortable. At each stop, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and open them again before asking yourself one of the following questions:
Try not to focus on any one thing, but let your mind wander freely as you consider what is going on around you. This is a great way to calm yourself and connect with the world around you while getting in some exercise and fresh air.
Discuss your walk with your Super Troopers afterwards. Did they notice anything in their surroundings that they hadn’t noticed before? How did their surroundings change as the walk went on? Did they notice any changes in their body (e.g. heartbeat getting faster, breathing getting quicker) as the walk continued?
Try going on a Mindfulness Walk in different environments throughout the summer, and compare the experiences – what different sounds did you notice on the beach and in a forest? How did you feel after each walk?
- Mindful Cloud Spotting
- What shapes can you see? Do any of the clouds resemble objects or animals?
- How quickly are they going by? What direction are they going in?
- Do any clouds seem to be closer or further away than others? What do the distant clouds look like?
Summer brings with it clear blue skies and bright, sunny days. Try this activity on a day when there are a few clouds in the sky, and you’re looking to take a few minutes to relax in the sun. Lie down in your back garden, a field, or any quiet area where you can see the sky. If you like, you can put on some calming music to help you relax. Look up as the clouds go by and think about the following:
After taking a few minutes to observe the clouds quietly, talk about them with your child. What did you see in the clouds? Were they moving quickly or slowly?
- Mindful Bedtime Ritual
- One thing that made me happy today was…
- Today, I was grateful for…
- Today, I was proud of…
- Tomorrow, I am looking forward to…
It can be difficult to put structure on long summer days without school, so taking a few minutes at bedtime to think about your day can be a great way to clear your mind and recharge for the following day. Discuss the following statements with your little one each night. If they write down their answers in a notebook, at the end of the summer, they’ll have a journal they can use to look back on their summer in months to come!
These are just a few mindful activities you can try with your kids this summer, but there are lots more in the Parents’ Area on the Super Troopers with Laya Healthcare website at www.supertroopers.ie. Why not let us know how you get on at firstname.lastname@example.org?