What Children Can Teach Us About Mindfulness

I was recently talking about mindfulness and mindful practices with a friend and she proceeded to ask me; do you practice or do any mindfulness activities with my 2 year old son?

I took a moment to ponder this question and thought 'well we practice deep breathing that we then encourage him to use when upset or angry' but other than that the answer was no. But then I realised that I participated in mindfulness activities with my son all the time, it's just he was teaching me! He is one of the most mindful people I know. He is rarely thinking in the past and rarely thinking about the future. He is almost always in the 'now'.

So my 2 year old is, in fact, my mindfulness coach. When I dedicate time to play or explore with him, he is constantly helping me move beyond my thoughts about the past or future by bringing me back to the current moment - whether it be working to fill up the dump truck with dirt, watching a millipede clamber over blades of grass or touching sticky eucalyptus sap.

This week is Mental Health Week and I'd encourage you to dedicate 30 minutes of time in nature with your child (or by yourself) and practice being truly mindful. Noticing what sights, sounds and smells draw your attention and follow them just like your 2 year old self would havw. Or maybe just follow your two year old - he or she will know what to do.

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