You might have heard the word ‘mindful’ or ‘mindfulness’ thrown around the internet, but do you know what it is? It sounds like something that you would want to do but don’t know where or how to start. We all can find time to be mindful, because we can all benefit from it. Whether it’s grabbing 10 minutes at lunch time or having some down time after tea, both adults and children could benefit from the techniques.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice of meditation and it starts with paying attention to your breathing in order to focus on the here and now. I, myself, suffer with anxiety and have done for a very long time so I usually have a focus of what might have already happened or what I think might happen in the future. Mindfulness is scrapping those thoughts and focusing clearly on right now, in this moment. If done properly, then mindfulness should aid you in getting distant from your emotions in order to observe them, without immediately reacting to them.
Over the last few years, mindfulness has emerged as the new way of treating children with conditions ranging from ADHD to anxiety, stress, depression, and even autism spectrum disorders. So far, the benefits of mindfulness have been astonishing.
What are the benefits of being mindful?
Now you are thinking, well what are the benefits? Practising mindfulness with children in the Early Years can improve attention and reduce stress. I was a bit sceptical at first but if you keep reading then you will find out why I love this item. Regulation around their emotions and helping them to grasp compassion and empathy are just some of the benefits.
Looking at he EYFS specifically, mindfulness can aid children in numerous areas of learning such as:
- Personal, social and emotional development by being able to actively manage their feelings, behaviours and emotions as well as gaining self confidence and self awareness
- Physical development by practicing yoga and meeting goals for their gross motor skills
- Communication and language through listening and paying attention in addition to understanding actions and instructions
- Expressive arts and design by using their imagination
Early Years Mindful Kids
When the boys see that I’ve got the EYR huge spinning top out in the living room ready to go they just get so excited! It’s lovely to see the joy on their faces over a game, especially one that they can benefit from emotionally. Although there’s not much in our house that doesn’t have educational value; when I put the TV on it is documentaries majority of the time, something that they can learn from!
There is so much to learn from using the mindful kids spinning top. It comes with 6 templates to put onto the spinning top with 6 activities on each rounded template. The spinning top gets spun and you look at your booklet to match it to the picture that was chosen. The activities range from games and stories to yoga and breathing techniques. For us, the most beneficial have been the breathing exercises and practicing yoga poses.
What did we think
As an educator and a parent, I love using this spinning top. Before we started using it, Mylo would regularly lose his temper and become so stressed and frustrated that his anger just exploded. We didn’t set out to use any of the techniques from the Mindful Kids game for calming Mylo temper. It just happened naturally. When Mylo feels himself becoming out of control now, all I have to say is “calm” and he takes in a deep breath and then exhales. That’s it! We naturally came across a method that works for him. Once he’s taken that deep breath, it allows him time to think about his emotions and work on a better method of communicating his feelings.
For Leo, it’s more the spending time together that he loves. Just because we home educate it doesn’t mean that he’s stuck to my hip all day. Child led play is encouraged in this house; it’s good to let children play on their own as it builds on their imaginative thinking and role play scenarios. Leo enjoys doing the yoga poses within this Mindful Kids activity that much that I am considering buying us yoga mats to take it further.
The Mindful Kids spinning top also comes with an online element to incorporate background music and printables; however, I couldn’t get this to work properly as it downloads as an RAR file which my Mac and my iPad wouldn’t recognise. I even tried converting the file but no luck their either so we couldn’t access
All in all, the Mindful Kids activity set has been a winner in this house. You don’t even need to do it for a long time. We’ve found that 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there have been the most useful for us as a family. You can find the item over at Early Years Resources! To see new items when they are released, follow EYR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Are you mindful? Are your children mindful?
Try this activity and I’m sure you will find it useful like we have!
We were sent the Mindful Kids spinning top in order to carry out this review. All images and opinions are that of my own.