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The Summit Counseling Center
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Mindfulness

Nikki (Lanzo) Gonazales

Cute little Asian 2 - 3 years old toddler baby boy child with eyes closed, barefoot practices yoga & meditating outdoorsSchool is out and SUMMER is finally here! Summer is the perfect time to build your child’s coping skills! So why not start with mindfulness? Mindfulness is magical. So here is the easy recipe for helping your kids understand what mindfulness is.  First for just an hour have everyone put their phones down, turn off the TV, and shutdown the tablets.  You want to show your family that they were each created with the gift of their amazing five senses. In addition to that we can teach them the gift of being present. So now that we are present, we use our five sense to interact with the amazing world around us. Including the people that we interact with every day.

Give 100% to what you are doing and who you are in this moment. We want our kids to remember not what shows they watched, but how beautiful the flowers were and how they smelled. How fun it was to have your full attention as they played and to remember how you laughed together. Mindfulness has many benefits, not just building connectivity. Mindfulness strengthens positive emotions, self-regulation, and helps you to better manage anxiety and stress when it arrives.

Start now, as kids are preparing for camps, summer vacations, and days by the pool. How cool is the water, how does it feel on your skin, or when you playfully are splashing the water in the pool.  If you’re planning a beach trip that is a perfect way to take in the smell of the ocean, and the sound of the waves as your feet are firmly planted in the particles of sand beneath you, all while watching the beautiful scenery in front of you. In addition, take a deep breath in through your nostrils, and feel the air as you slowly release it through your mouth. This is a moment that your whole body can release and relax.

There are many activities on mindfulness that you can find on the internet, but I will also share a few of my favorites that I like to use with my clients.

  • Create a glitter jar – There are a variety of ways to do this but you can use water and just glitter, or add beads (You can add clear glue, food coloring also). * I really like to use CORE water bottles, because the curve allows the glitter to fall just perfectly.
  • For one minute find a relaxing space and sit down. Allow your body to relax, take a deep breath in and out, notice your breath and any sound you hear, feel the air moving up and down the lungs, take a deep breath and hold it and slowly release it.
  • 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding: After you have taken a deep breath notice 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste.

Even in the hard moments help your child navigate (how is their breathing, heart rate, stomach, etc.) through that moment, and figure out what helps them to get back to the place they need to be. Help them to notice when something happens, what is going on in their body. If they can understand how to be mindful now. Maybe in the fall when something happens at school they will also notice the impact it has on them and be able to use a few things they have practiced in the summer to recover quicker from those moments.

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