Updated: Aug 7
Making time for mindfulness is not always easy, whether for ourselves or for our children, but we have collected a number of simple 1-minute mindful activities you can do either on your own or with your children.
Imagine, in just one minute, you can give your child a lifelong tool. These exercises are brief and don’t require anything more than you, your child, and a little imagination.
Mindfulness for children is just as important as it is for adults. Taking a mini break from your fast paced day is just the ticket for reducing stress, lowering the heart rate and letting go of immediate pressures.
Why is it important to teach preschoolers mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the art of being fully present without judgment.
Mindfulness has the potential to have an incredible impact on the growth and development of your preschooler. Benefits include: regulating emotions, increasing focus and resilience, building empathy and kindness, improving sleep patterns, enhancing relationships, and encouraging critical thinking.
Taking the time to incorporate mindful activities into your routine teaches your preschooler how meaningful and powerful it is to pause and be observant. This is an invaluable tool for your little one.
1. Just breathe. We recommend breathing through the nostrils for a count of four and breathing out through the mouth for a double count of eight. For children, you may find it easier to reduce the count to 3-6.
2. Stretch your body. One simple way to do this is standing tall, reach for the sky with both arms and then drop at the waist, fingertips to the ground and hold for 20 seconds. When you come up, reach your left arm over your head and stretch to the right for 20 seconds and then reach your right arm over your head and stretch to the left for 20 seconds. This is a simple routine you can do with your child.
3. Best part of your day or week. Ask your child what their favorite thing is that they did this week. How did it make you feel? When you think about it now, does your body feel the same?
4. Quick one minute walk. This could be as simple as stepping outside to walk to the mailbox and back or a small loop around the house. Take time to observe what you see. What colors jump out? What sounds can you hear? How does the outdoors smell?
5. Observe your surroundings. Take a minute to look around you and name three things you can hear, then two things you can see, and finally one sensation that you feel.
6. Get your sillies out. Stand up, loosen your body, and take a minute to wiggle and move. Be as silly or as slow as you like. Freeze. Take a moment to notice how your body is feeling.
7. Appreciation minute. Take a minute, sit down with your child and then each of you name one thing you appreciate and one thing you feel grateful for.
8. Sound game. Use an object in your home to make a ringing sound - a bell, a chime, even a fork against a glass. Have your children close their eyes to listen and raise their hand when they can no longer hear the sound.
9. Toes in the grass. You can practice this one on actual grass or just using the floor in your home. Either sitting or standing, place your feet flat on the ground. Concentrate on the sensations you experience. How does it feel? What can you hear or smell? How does your whole body feel?
10. Mindful eating. When your child is snacking, use the food to create a moment of mindfulness. For example, if it’s a strawberry, observe: How does it look? How does it smell? How does it feel? What does it taste like? Eat it slowly and observe how it feels and tastes in your mouth.
These are just a few mindful minute sample activities that you can practice with your child. It only takes one minute to pause, look up, and observe the world around you.
When should I practice mindfulness with my preschooler?
The more we integrate these simple practices into our daily routines, the easier mindfulness becomes. It only takes one minute to be the example and it will teach preschoolers important tools for learning how to be introspective and thoughtful.
You can incorporate a simple breathing exercise or some light stretching easily into your nightly bedtime routine. Perhaps it’s easier to take an appreciation minute before breakfast or dinner. Afternoon snack time is the perfect opportunity for mindful eating.
Ultimately, it is up to you and your individual schedule as to the best way to teach the mindfulness minute. What works for you and allows for the most consistency is likely to be the best option.
Focus on the pause and spend a minute with your preschooler. May you learn as much as they do.