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Mental Health

Using Mindfulness to Help Your Child Deal with Anxiety


Even though we picture childhood as full of fun and laughter, kids can sometimes feel anxious. The good part? Mindfulness has become a helpful tool for both kids and parents to handle this anxiety and bring back some calmness.

Understanding Childhood Anxiety

Before finding ways to help, we need to understand the issue. Kids feel anxious too. They might stress about unexpected tests at school or feel uneasy when away from their parents. There are times when their worries can make them fear things that aren’t real or see problems where there aren’t any. Feeling a bit anxious is normal for kids sometimes, but if it’s frequent or very strong, it’s something we need to address.

The Power of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is all about staying focused on the current moment. But how does that help with something as tricky as anxiety?

  • Living in the Present: Kids can get stuck on things they did wrong before or worry about what might happen later. Mindfulness reminds them to stay in the here and now, showing them that many of their worries are about things that haven’t and might never happen.
  • Focused Breathing: Something as simple as paying attention to breathing can be powerful. Concentrating on each breath can take their mind off worries and help them feel more relaxed.
  • Seeing Feelings, Not Judging: Kids can be really hard on themselves. Mindfulness helps them notice how they feel without deciding if it’s good or bad.

How to Introduce Your Child to Mindfulness

If you’re thinking of trying mindfulness with your kid, here’s a clear and simple plan:

  • Chat with Your Child: Ask your child about what’s on their mind or what might be bothering them. Tell them about mindfulness as a special tool they can use to handle these feelings.
  • Begin with Breathing: Show your child how to focus on their breathing. Ask them to picture their breath like the waves at the beach, rolling in and out.
  • Practice Every Day: Just like any other skill, doing mindfulness regularly makes it work better. Set aside a little time each day for it. As days go by, try doing it for longer.
  • Find Fun Tools: There are many kids’ books, apps, and videos about mindfulness. These can make learning about it fun and interesting.
  • Show Them How: Kids learn a lot by watching. If they see you doing mindfulness, they’ll want to try it too.

Making Mindfulness Fun for the Whole Family

Why not have everyone join in on the mindfulness fun? Here’s how to add it to your family’s everyday life:

  • Eat with Attention: During meals, enjoy every bite. Talk about how the food tastes and feels.
  • Walk with Awareness: When you all go for walks, pay attention to how the ground feels and the sounds you hear. Notice the beautiful colors around you.
  • Play and Focus: Turn playtime into a time of focus. Doing puzzles, playing with blocks, or coloring can help everyone stay in the moment.

Taking Mindfulness to the Next Level

Once your child gets the hang of simple mindfulness exercises, you can try these:

  • Storytime Meditations: These are like listening to a calm story, sometimes with soft music, that helps them relax and meditate. Some are made just for kids.
  • Body Check-ins: This means paying attention to different parts of the body, feeling how they are, and relaxing any tight spots.
  • Thankful Notes: Ask your child to jot down three good things from their day. This helps them focus on happy moments and be more present.

How Mindfulness Helps Anxiety: The Science Bit

Even though mindfulness might feel like magic, there’s real science behind how it helps with anxiety. When scientists looked at the brain, they found some cool changes from doing regular mindfulness exercises:

  • Fear Center Gets Smaller: There’s a part of our brain, called the amygdala, that deals with fear. When we’re stressed or anxious, it gets bigger. But with mindfulness, it actually gets smaller and chills out a bit.
  • Thinking Part Gets Stronger: Another part of our brain, the prefrontal cortex, helps us think clearly, focus, and make choices. Mindfulness makes this part grow stronger and work better.
  • Better Brain Talk: Mindfulness helps different areas of our brain talk to each other more efficiently, which means we can process things and make decisions more easily.

Fun Mindfulness Activities for Kids

Sitting still isn’t always fun for kids. So, here are some playful activities to get them into mindfulness:

  • Listening to Nature: Head to a nearby park or garden. Have your child shut their eyes and listen. What sounds can they pick out? This helps them tune into the moment.
  • Spidey Senses: Ask your kid to act like Spider-Man. Tell them to use their ‘spidey senses’ to feel everything around them. It’s a superhero way to be more aware!
  • Imaginary Balloons: Make breathing fun! Ask your child to pretend they’re blowing up a balloon when they breathe in and letting the air out when they breathe out.
  • Feeling Like the Weather: Let your kid describe how they feel using weather terms. Maybe they’re as happy as a sunny day or as mad as a thunderstorm. This way, they can talk about their feelings without getting too caught up in them.
  • Making a Calm Space for Kids at Home

To help your child with their mindfulness, you can set up a peaceful spot at home:

  • Comfy Spot: Find a quiet place in your house for your child to relax and think. Add some soft cushions, soothing colors, and a couple of their favorite stuffed animals.
  • Less Screen Time: Try having some time without TV or tablets. This gives kids a break and helps them pay attention to the world around them.
  • Books that Help: Get some kids’ books that talk about being calm and kind. Reading these together can be a special time to connect.
  • Stay Calm and Carry On: Keep in mind that learning to be mindful takes time. Celebrate the little wins with your child and know that every day might bring something different.

Getting Schools and Neighbors Involved

Think about asking your child’s school if they can add some mindfulness activities to their lessons. A lot of schools now know how good it can be and might add it. Also, think about joining or starting a group in your neighborhood that focuses on being mindful. When kids see their friends doing it, they might want to join in too!


Dealing with anxiety can be tough, but using mindfulness can really help both kids and their families. Mindfulness is more than just a way to handle anxiety; it gives kids skills to handle life’s ups and downs. As kids grow up and face bigger problems, having learned mindfulness will help them handle things with a clear head and a calm heart.