There's no doubt the coronavirus lockdown is having an effect on both adults' and children's wellbeing, with parents trying their best to make their kids feel happy and secure in such uncertain times. Mindfulness techniques are one way to relax your child, and are great to do before a homeschooling session.
BBC channel CBeebies has just launched a new game called Your Mindful Garden, voiced by Stephen Fry, which teaches children how to develop mindful habits. The game offers three daily activities on a different aspect of mindfulness: focus, creative and calm.
Mindfulness consultant Leanne MacDonald, who helped develop the game, shares more mindfulness activities to try at home here…
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Gratitude paper chains
"Gratitude is a very simple and effective mindful activity, directing children to focus on what they are thankful for. Creating paperchain links gives the opportunity to be creative together as a family and you can decorate each link with paints or colourful pens, while writing the things you are grateful for. I encourage you as a family to add a new link each day and then watch as the paper chain grows and see how much we have to be thankful for!"
"Watching the glitter in a glitter jar fall to the bottom is quite mesmerising, all you need is a plastic bottle or clean jar, lukewarm water, glitter, glitter glue. Add the water, glitter glue and glitter into the jar and secure the lid then give it a good shake! Perfect to use before bedtime to help your child wind down for the evening."
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Mindful daily walk
"As you enjoy your daily walk, create a scavenger list of items for your children to look out for, including things they might see, hear and smell so they are focusing on multiple senses. In your scavenger list include things like hearing birds singing, smelling freshly cut grass, seeing a butterfly, noticing a red front door, spying a ladybird etc. You could even ask them to make a pre-scavenger hunt poster that you can refer to as you walk."
Lucky dip bag
"Fill a small bag with little toys and objects and have your children pull out one at a time. Ask them to focus on the item and describe the touch, colour, smell, shape, name, the noise it would make (if applicable), what activities it might enjoy etc. Ask them to focus on the item fully while exploring the nature of the item and building up a visual picture, bringing the item to life! Take turns as the children will enjoy listening to your exploration and descriptions!"
"Ask your child to hold up their hand with their fingers spread out. Then tell them to name five things they can see, four things they can touch, three things they can hear, two things they can smell and one thing they can taste. As they answer each question they can drop a finger on their hand."
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"This is a favourite of my two youngest children - we like to blow bubbles in the garden and with each bubble we direct a thought of kindness towards a family member, friend or neighbour."
Your Mindful Garden I available on the CBeebies Go Explore app which is free on the Apple, Google and Amazon app stores.
Leanne MacDonald is the co-founder of My Mental Health Rocks, a worldwide project delivering mental health and wellbeing programmes in schools and within the community.