2. Take a mindful walk
At some time during a child’s first year and a half of life, they pull themselves up on unsteady legs and take their first steps. During those tentative first steps, their mind is truly mindful of the position of their feet, the feel of the floor, and the movement of their body. They concentrate on walking and only walking with a clear, deliberate mind.
Mindful walking is an active, engaging strategy. It’s not about a destination; it is simply about each step and breathing. It is being mindful in the moment. You can practice walking mindfully in any large space. Walking outside, particularly where there is nature around, can be the most rewarding.
How to do basic mindful walking with children:
- Have the child stand and take several belly breaths; allowing their bodies to relax from their head to their toes.
- They are to soften their eyes and fix their gaze on the ground about 8 metres ahead.
- Tell the children to smile slightly. Smiling signals the brain that what is happening is pleasant.
- As they walk, have the children focus on the step of each foot as it rises up and then comes back down to the ground.
- Periodically, have the children stop and notice one object (flower, stone, stick, leaf, etc.) or sound (birds chirping, water trickling, car passing, etc.) Get them to spend time appreciating that one moment.
- Afterwards, take some time to discuss how this strategy made them feel? How did their body feel?