There’s no doubt that mindfulness/meditation/chill out time, or whatever you like to call it, can really benefit children’s mental and physical wellbeing. Here are some products that will help even the smallest children learn to calm mind and body.
Mindful Kids: 50 Mindfulness Activities for Focus and Calm by Whitney Stewart and Mina Braun (Barefoot Books, RRP £9.99) is a deck of glossy, colourful cards, each featuring an idea for a game or meditation to encourage relaxation and concentration. There are prompts to think about and express how you feel through art, tips on boosting self-confidence, being kind to others and making decisions and stretchy yoga-based movements like Swaying Tree and Mountain Rising. Suitable from around age 4 upwards.
ABC Mindful Me by Christiane Engel (Walter Foster Jr, RRP £10.99) is a board book alphabet with a difference – each letter is represented by word associated with a principle of mindfulness, such as B for Breathe, F for Feelings, N for Namaste, T for Thankfulness. It’s packed with ideas for activities as well: I love the emotion rocks and nature mandalas – we’ll definitely be trying those out.
I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (Abrams Books for Young Readers, RRP £9.99). We have, and love, Verde and Reynolds previous collaboration, I Am Yoga, and this is just as lovely, with fantastic descriptions of how anxiety feels to a child (‘The thoughts in my head are like rushing water.’) and how awareness of the present can help ground and dispel those feelings. There’s also a guided meditation at the end.
Stop, Breathe and Think app. Fab free app (with in-app purchases) to help small people learn the benefits of meditation and taking time out. Really engaging, the meditations are divided into missions and you can collect stickers for various achievements. I use the adult version of this app regularly to help me switch off go to sleep and it’s great. And, yes, it also has stickers!