Mindful Monsters: practising mindfulness as a family
Whether you've got a little worrier on your hands or just want to create a more peaceful bedtime routine, mindfulness can be a great way for kids to unwind and improve focus
What is Mindful Monsters?
Mindful Monsters is a mindfulness subscription service created by Scope. The packs are suitable for kids of all ages and easy to do together as a family. Each month, for a £7.50 donation, you'll receive a pack of seven activity cards in the post which help your kids explore four areas with the monsters: concentration, relaxation, positivity and creativity.
The exercises are specifically designed for kids and aim to provide them with improved focus, a better understanding of their emotions, a sense of calm, a positive attitude, and more resilience when tackling everyday challenges. An important life skill, quality time together, and a few moments of peace and quiet all rolled into one – result.
Plus, you'll be kept in the loop on how your donations help give disabled children and their families the best start in life. In your first pack you'll receive seven activity cards, some monster stickers, and a parent's guide to Mindful Monsters.
Give it a try
If you're not convinced of the benefits of mindfulness (for both kids and parents), why not try one of these simple exercises next time you need to defuse a potential tantrum or bring a bit of peace to your bedtime routine?
- Close your eyes and imagine you have a balloon in your tummy. Breath in, feeling the balloon filling with air, getting bigger then gradually smaller as you breath out. This one-minute breathing exercise helps your child practice creating a space for themselves in moments of tension.
- Sit with your eyes closed for one minute and listen for many sounds you can notice and name. Noticing the complex and differing background noise helps kids learn to let it be.
- Close your eyes and imagine your thoughts are clouds in the sky. Worries may be present to a lesser or greater degree, but like clouds, they pass. This game helps children to avoid being overwhelmed by their thoughts.
- Go for a barefoot walk, either indoors or in the garden. Talk about all the physical sensations that you notice. Learning through play helps children to develop an awareness of the physical world around them and their place within it.
- Before their bedtime story, lie down and do a body scan. Work slowly from the toes upwards and talk about all the different feelings within the body. This exercise helps to bring stillness and calm to the bedtime routine, readying children for rest and (fingers crossed) a good night's sleep.
Mindfulness can also be a valuable parenting tool. No parent enjoys being snappy and cross, but, unless you'e blessed with the patience of an actual saint, family life can be a little trying at times. Mindful parenting helps you keep your cool and connect with your child by being present in your parenting.
It's about developing the skills to notice the feelings that arise in moments of tension; in turn, this will help you notice opportunities for choice – even when it seems that your only option is losing your temper.
Sounds simple, but it’s not always easy when tensions are running high
and no one has got their shoes on. However, tuning in and recognising your own feelings and those of your child in moments of conflict enables you see that our emotions don't define us. Separating thoughts from facts allows you to respond to the person, rather than angrily reacting to the emotion.
Mindful parenting is also more about practice than perfection
thankfully. Try doing some simple daily practices like:
- Take the time during your busy day to check in with yourself. Put away all distractions, close your eyes and just notice your breathing and what is going on for you right now.
- Take a moment to reflect on all that you feel grateful for – big and small. Sometimes pausing to take pleasure in the small things can make a world of difference.
Get your first month of mindfulness free
Mindful Monsters are giving Mumsnet users a month of free mindfulness activities. Sign up before 31 January 2019 and enter code MUMS1 at the checkout to receive your free starter pack. Any subsequent payments are a donation to Scope so you can stop at any time.Try it now
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