Life with toddlers can be hectic and overwhelming. Oftentimes, there is so much to do that it is hard for me to be present and grounded. For toddlers, understanding the value in quieting ourselves and finding awareness in where we are and what we are doing is a foreign concept, but it is never too early to introduce the little ones to the importance of a mindfulness practice.
What is Mindfulness?
According to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, mindfulness is “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.”
Being mindful helps us to be fully present and allows us to be more aware of ourselves instead of what is going on around us.
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Research shows that mindfulness can help children improve their ability to pay attention, better regulate their emotions and to make better decisions.
For us, mindfulness and deep breathing has been beneficial in calming my boys down when they are upset, which in turn helps them to better express their feelings.
Starting a Mindfulness Practice with Your Toddlers
When introducing mindfulness to very young children, it is important to keep it fun and simple. My twins love their meditation cushions from Zafooz.
Zafooz were created as a relatable way to introduce simple mindfulness practices to children by combining a meditation cushion called a “zafu” with a plush animal. The Zafooz are cushions and breathing buddies in one. All of the designs feature a peaceful animal face to remind children to slow down and focus within themselves.
We have two Zafooz, one for each of my twins. Each Zafoo has its own mantra. Lotus Ladybug‘s mantra is “I am loved.” Mindful Monkey‘s mantra is “I breathe in and smile.” Zafooz are available in four other designs: Bodhi Bear, Tranquil Turtle, Peaceful Panda and Dharma Dog.
Since my boys are still very young and are always busy, I try to incorporate small doses of mindfulness into their daily routines. We like to sit together on the floor of our playroom with their Zafooz. They like to hug their Zafooz or will sit quietly on the cushion for a brief moment. These are simple and quick ways for them to slow down and bring awareness to what they are doing.
As my boys get older, I hope to expand on their mindfulness practice by introducing them to meditation and breathing exercises. zafooz’s website has great resources for teaching mindfulness to children, including guided meditation scripts and lessons on mindful breathing and body scans. They also have a list of recommended books on teaching mindfulness to young children.
I hope that mindfulness continues to be a big part of my children’s lives, and we all learn to slow down and be present.
From now until July 22, 2019, save 15% on your own Zafooz cushion by using the discount code breatheBhappy at zafooz.com/shop.