Posted on Monday, April 8, 2019 by Hagit 1 minute
Hi there! Welcome back to Beyond Therapy! The blog of HeadStart for Life!
A lot of guru’s in the world seem to practise some form of meditation or many do yoga. Have you wondered how might meditation, yoga, and mindfulness impact one’s emotions and behavior?
In the last few years, there is a rising awareness of meditation and mindfulness. It is especially popular with adults and had been proven to be very helpful with becoming more focused, calm and staying at ‘here and now’ mode.
But does it have the same impact on children?
Some schools around the world included meditation and mindfulness practice as part of their students’ daily activities; one of the schools even embraced ‘meditation time’ instead of student’s detention. And the results were amazingly positive!
Moreover, researches show that meditation and yoga have a positive impact on cognitive functions. More specifically, meditation impacts learning, memory, and emotion regulation (the hippocampus) as well as perspective-taking, empathy and compassion (the temporoparietal junction).
So can we include this on all children?
For some children, especially the younger ages, trying the full experience of meditation might be too tough. Instead, you may want to practice breathing techniques first, in a playful way. In fact, focusing on your breath is the first step of mastery meditation and mindfulness. Therefore, having this first trial with your child can be a great start. Later on, you can remind your child when to use these breathing techniques in situations when he or she needs assistance to calm and self-regulate.
In today’s blog, I would like to share with you a few playful breathing activities to try at home with your child.
To enhance the interaction between you two, you can practice together!
All age’s favorite game – bubbles! First, the adult can puff the bubbles, while the child pops them with his fingers. Make sure to take deep breaths and puff the bubbles slowly, in this way you are modeling your child to take a deep breath.
Next step is to take turns – let the child blow the bubbles and you can pop them!
You can use bean bags or any small soft toy for this activity. Both the adult and the child are lying down, placing the beanbag on your tummies. The mission is to see the beanbag going up and down whe you breathe. Repeat this exercise up to five counts for a young child (age 6 or below), and 8-10 counts for older children. Remember to take a break and repeat. If you don’t have any soft toy or a beanbag, you can place your hands on the child’s tummy.
Balloons are so great, not just for birthday parties! You can do so much with balloons, and it always gives a festive feeling! For breathing technique purposes, your child can inflate balloons of his favorite color, or make a balloon rainbow. If needed, you can assist your child by holding it or give the first puff. If your child is too young, you can inflate the balloons and guide your child to place his hand next to his mouth and mimic you!
Both parent and child can be snakes in a pretend play. Make sure your child tries out ‘baby snake sounds’ (gentle “ssss” sound), and ‘big snake sounds’ (louder “SSSS”). Notice that achieving a louder noise requires a deeper breath. To make it more fun, you may add other animals to the play.
Somewhat more experiential activity is to pretend to play as dragons. You can implement this as a part of an imaginary story that you role-play together with your child. Take deep inhales and exhales like dragons.
Freeing your child’s inner stress, while having a playful time, can be very useful for gaining self-regulations abilities!
Hope you enjoy this post and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.