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April 27, 2020
Mindfulness means slowing down to notice what is happening in the present moment. All you need to do is focus on one thing right now and gently catch yourself when your brain creates judgments or distractions. Mindfulness can be helpful during times of uncertainty and stress.
Regular mindfulness practice can:
Explain the purpose of practicing mindfulness. Try telling your family, “We do this to help train our brains to focus on the here and now.”
As a family, pick an activity, like one of the exercises below, or object to focus on. Set a timer for 3-5 minutes and ask family members to bring their attention to the object/activity.
Alert family members when their attention wanders from the activity. Parents should notice when their kids’ (or partner’s) attention has wandered. Gently bring their attention back to the activity without judgment. Everyone should resist the urge to be silly and/or competitive.
After the activity, share observations with your family:
Try practicing mindfulness with your family once a day.
Each family member writes the words “twist,” “shout,” “baby,” and “shake” on a piece of paper. Each person makes a tally mark for every time they hear one of these four words as they listen to the song “Twist and Shout.”
Each family member is given a blank piece of paper. Everyone closes their eyes. When someone says “start,” each person tries to rip their paper into the shape of a horse without looking. Everyone shares their “horses” at the end.
Fill up a cup with water so that it is only an inch from the rim. Sit in a circle. Silently pass the cup around the circle, trying not to spill it. After five successful passes, start passing it around with everyone’s eyes closed.
Family members sit in a circle and take turns saying one sentence in a story. They create the story together, one line at a time, until the timer goes off.
For one minute, have family members observe each other’s shoes. Then, each person describes the shoes without judgment and with overly specific language, such as “Your shoes are black and have white laces.” If someone makes a judgment, like “Your shoes are cute,” ask, “What makes you say that?” to prompt more descriptive language.