School is officially back in session, whatever it may look like. Whether you’re still doing virtual learning or your children are attending child care or classes in-person, routines have been dramatically altered to accommodate life in an ongoing pandemic. And these routines may already be exhausting you and your family.

One effective way to deal with the stress of “normal” life in a not-so-normal time is to make space each day to practice mindfulness. It’s a lot easier said than done, especially when you look at your to-do list filled with professional and personal tasks. However, when you practice mindfulness, you’re practicing the art of creating space for yourself—space to think, breathe, slow down, connect and be fully present.

“Mindfulness is to pay attention on purpose, in the present moment, to just slow down and notice all the beautiful things around you,” said Sandra Graham, Kiddie Academy’s director of training. “It can help children focus, manage stress, self-regulate emotions and develop a positive outlook. Particularly right now, it can offer them relief from the stress and difficulties that may be occurring in their lives and help build resiliency.”

Practicing Mindfulness Each Day

We’ve developed a few activities for “Mindful Minutes,” suggestions of things you can do with your child to achieve mindfulness each day. These Mindful Minutes reflect the Kiddie Academy Life Essentials philosophy and help children concentrate on the positives around them, developing a sense of appreciation, gratitude and contentment.

In a playful way, use these activities and games to introduce your child to breathing practices and other techniques to develop focus and sensory awareness, while reducing stress and regulating emotions.

  • Take your children for a walk outside. Invite your little ones to listen to how the leaves blow in the wind. Direct their attention to the warm sun as it bathes their faces. Listen to birds in the distance as they chirp. Focusing on the surroundings helps your children connect to their environment. It brings their attention to the here and now.
  • Encourage your little one to think from head to toe about how they’re feeling. This can be a good way to start the day or just something to do when you think your children need to center themselves.
  • Find a relaxing place, or a “happy” place. Sit comfortably in a quiet place that’s free from too many distractions and set a timer for one minute. Breathe deeply in and out, slowly. Let your mind and body rest and relax from any pressures.

The busyness and hurry of life shows no signs of slowing down, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take time when you and your child need it. So, remember to take a minute (or more!) each day with your kid(s) to practice mindfulness and center yourself in the present moment. You may come out with a sense of gratitude or energy for the days ahead of you.