For kids with ADHD/ADD, it’s easy for their minds to wander to other things, especially when completing tasks they find challenging or less interesting. Mindfulness is a great tool that parents and kids can have in their toolbox. It can help bring our attention to the present moment and help cope with difficult feelings and the challenges of day to day life.
Mindfulness has all sorts of benefits, but one roadblock can be fitting in time to practice mindfulness during a busy daily routine. Good news – mindfulness isn’t just about sitting quietly, picturing a calm place, or doing yoga. Mindful moments can happen anywhere and anytime – really!
Let’s have a look at 5 ways parents and children can fit mindfulness into a busy daily routine:
1. 4-3-2-1 Game
The 4-3-2-1 game is simple: Ask your child, what are four things you see? What are three things you hear? What are 2 things you feel? What’s one thing you smell? Attending to what’s in our environment, right here and right now, can help orient kids to the present moment and to what they are experiencing. Another benefit of this game is getting distractions out of the way before settling down to the task at hand.
2. I Spy
A simpler version of the 4-3-2-1 game is the classic “I Spy”! Kids love playing and taking turns noticing what’s in their environment! Another way to use this game is to ask kids to “spy” different parts of a book they’re reading, or a part of their homework. After all, “I spy a subtraction sign!”, or “I spy your agenda in your backpack!” sounds much more fun than “You need to do your work…”
3. What’s my Zone?
The Zones of Regulation(TM) are being used in more and more classrooms across Canada, and for good reason! If you haven’t learned them yet, here are the basics: The Blue Zone means a child is tired, sad, or overall low energy; The Green Zone means calm and ready to learn; The Yellow Zone means excited, wiggly, or nervous; and The Red Zone means angry or very high energy. Check in together before or after school or before bed and talk together about strategies to get in the right zone for the right time of day or task.
4. Five-Finger Breathing
Forget the yoga mat and the singing bowl, all you need to practice mindful breathing is your own hand! Your child can trace the outside of his hand with the index finger of his other hand while breathing in as he goes up, and out as he traces down a finger.
5. Body Breaks
As much as it’s important to focus, it’s equally important to give our bodies what they need to do a good job focusing. Whether it’s 30 seconds of running, jumping jacks or pushups, playing with a fidget toy, or getting a deep-pressure backrub, find out what helps your child focus and make a list of different ideas together for body breaks when the going gets tough.
Mindfulness is an approach to orienting our brains, and as you can see, it can be practiced throughout the day, in small ways.