MINDFULNESS FOR MINIS
Experts Say Meditation Offers Big Benefits for Little Ones
On most days, it seems like all we’re doing is running from one activity to another. Soccer games, gymnastic practice, dance lessons, and more. We’re so busy that we barely have time to even think about what we’re doing in the moment, our minds are already looking ahead to what’s next. The busier the better, right? Well, maybe not.
Studies suggest that “mindfulness” or the state of active, open attention in the present can help you deal with a myriad of problems from anxiety to sleeplessness to depression. Mindfulness helps you appreciate the here and now, see the colors of the rainbow, or just gives you a chance to catch your breath. As adults, we have way too many responsibilities to worry about - bills, jobs, families, etc, that sometimes we forget to see what’s going on around us.
But there are easy ways to incorporate mindfulness into our lives. For adults, mindfulness may be taking a yoga class to help you relax, lighting your favorite candle to enjoy the scent, deep breathing every morning or night in bed, or even just allowing for five minutes of quiet at the end of each day. And a little bit of mindfulness can go a long way.
And while they may not have jobs or bills, children today are inundated with their own type of stressors. From worrying about what’s cool to wear to doing well in school to playing competitive sports, today’s children are more anxious than in the past, and have more trouble falling and staying asleep. Not to mention the added stress of social media where children can see and compare themselves to their peers and may feel lacking, that they’re missing out, or that they’re being left out.
Anxiety and stress in both adults and children can lead to sleeplessness. Research suggests that between 20 percent and 30 percent of children have significant issues falling asleep or staying asleep. Which means we probably know or have a child who needs a little help at night.
So why is mindfulness important to children? Well, for one thing, mindfulness is the first step on the path to a good night’s sleep. And while sleep is important to all of us, it’s especially so for children. It’s the linchpin of creating a healthy and happy daily routine.
But how do you teach small children mindfulness? It’s not always easy to get little kids to slow down. But according to Dr. Rebecca Robins, Ph. D, sleep researcher, expert, and co-author of Sleep For Success!, there are some ways we can help make mindfulness part of our everyday routine with children.
Create a bedtime ritual: For children good sleep is all about routine. Make the bedtime routine more mindful for them by implementing a ritual like closing their eyes and counting to ten to say “goodbye to the day.” This will provide an overall sense of calm and set the tone for the rest of the bedtime routine. A warm bath is another great bedtime ritual.
Belly breathe: Belly breathing is the act of slowly and mindfully deep breathing in and out to return the body to state of calm. Have your child lie down with a plush toy or teddy bear on their tummy, “breathing” it up and down. As they watch the motion of the rise and fall, they will become more aware of their breathing. As a result, their minds should slow down allowing them to drift off to sleep more easily.
Enjoy bedtime stories: Reading or listening to bedtime stories has been shown to facilitate cognitive development among children. Children who are read to also demonstrate better academic performance than children without these routines.
Embrace the power of technology: These days there’s an app for everything, including many that focus on meditation and sleep, such as Calm. What some parents may not realize is that there is a similarly effective app available for kids. Moshi Sleep is an audio-only (NO SCREEN TIME!) app that features soothing stories and calming melodies to help kids relax and fall asleep more quickly when used as part of a regular bedtime routine. Join Academy Award-winning actress Goldie Hawn, as she narrates the tale of a Mindful Moshling who discovers that mindfulness and sweet dreams go together, hand in hand.
Practice gratitude: As you tuck your little one in and say goodnight, encourage them to share one thing they are grateful for out loud. Caregivers can role model this by telling their child about one positive thing that happened in their day. Practicing gratitude will elicit positive emotion and a sense of peace and calm for parent and child.
It may sound cliché to say stop and smell the roses, but in essence, that’s what mindfulness is. Stop. Breathe. Look around. Be mindful. It’s hard to stop our racing brains, bodies, and families, but it’s so important for our health. Especially, when it comes to our family’s nighttime routine.
A good night’s sleep means better concentration and more energy throughout the day. Moshi Sleep is the first step to a good night’s sleep for our children. With Major Moony's Cosmic Stressbuster children (or even adults) can zap away worries and troubles in poppable bubbles. Soothing music adds to the calming essence of this guided relaxation tool that sees Major Moony floating in a most peculiar way. Cosmic.
Calming, soothing, and relaxing, Moshi Sleep promises to make bedtime a dream. And that’s something we can all be mindful about.
The Moshi Team