It is very important to know how to be able to spend quality time with your kids. As a family, it is inevitable that there will be times when you will be stuck in one place for long stretches of time. Or with the current circumstances you may find yourself in periods of isolation. It is essential that you make use of these times and enjoy activities with your children that help to promote mindfulness and a healthy relationship between the parent and the child.
Furthermore, even if you are not in a situation where you have no choice but to spend time with your kids, it is always a good idea to create such situations on your own every now and then. This helps create a healthy bond between you and your children. In order to be able to do so, you need to know which kind of activities you can do to pass the time mindfully. Below are 25 mindful activities that you can do as together a family.
1. Taking a Slow Walk
Walking and talking have always proven to be productive. When one is walking, especially outdoors, their mind gets an automatic feeling of refreshment and if you have a company with you to talk to at that time it makes it all the better. That is why talking to your children while taking a walk can act like mindful meditation for both you, and your child, at the same time. This can also be done in isolation for a slow walking meditation around the house to see who can get to one side of the room the slowest.
People who are naturally fond of gardening will agree in a heartbeat that it is a very therapeutic activity. However, even if you are not particularly fond of this activity, you should definitely try it out with your family. When you beautify the outside portion of your home with the aid of your loved ones, it feels invigorating and creates a unique bond amongst the members of the family.
3. Eating in Silence
As a child, we are all taught that it is considered to be bad manners to talk while we are eating. As we grow up this fact slowly fades away and eating time becomes the time we do everything else that we need to on our “break” from work. It is true that as an adult with a busy schedule you need to do so sometimes but if you really want to practice mindful eating, sit at the table with your family and eat in silence. Let your thoughts wander in the safety of the presence of your loved ones.
4. Play Board Games
This is an absolute classic. We have all had moments in our childhood where a simple board game has formed the best of our memories. The key is to not let that go even if you are a grown-up or if your children have grown up as well. A quick and friendly board game with the family will always be an interesting replacement for what meditation classes can do for you.
5. Create “Our Family’s Dreams” Sheet
This is rather a tricky one as discussing the future can often become overwhelming for people. But the whole point of discussing your goals, hopes and dreams is to feel relaxed whilst doing it. That is why when you discuss your goals and your children’s goals with them, make sure to keep it light and breezy. Do not let negativity or doubt creep in. Believe in your children’s dreams wholeheartedly. Draw these onto the sheet with coloured pencils and create your Family Dreams Sheet to put on the fridge.
If anyone in the family knows how to play any instrument then they should play it as everyone else listens carefully. Everyone else should focus solely on the music being played and get lost and immersed in it completely. This will provide for a positive mental atmosphere for all.
7. Have a Scavenger Hunt
This is a rather elaborate activity to achieve mindfulness when with your family. However, the planning and execution both contribute toward mental peace and build a strong relationship between all parties involved in the scavenger hunt. So, it is worth the time you will need to invest in it.
8. Showing Gratitude
This can be done at any time, however, it is likely to be more effective if done at a specified time. This time can be early in the morning, right before going to bed, or right before having any meal. Sit together with your kids and go through everything that you are thankful for and see the magic it does for your mental peace. Gratitude is always the right attitude.
9. Bedtime Fun
Naturally, children do not like bedtime and this makes parents resent it too. But, if you make bedtime a fun time then it will become a mindful activity for the entire family. Read a fun story, perform a short play, and go all out when you are putting your children to bed. Eventually, they will get tired and fall asleep happily.
10. Outdoor Games
If your aim is to simply perform a mindful activity with your family then these games do not need to be elaborate. Simply passing around a ball or throwing around a frisbee with your loved ones can feel therapeutic at times.
11. The Heartbeat Exercise
When things get too chaotic, the heartbeat exercise is the way to go. Everyone stops what they are doing and focuses completely on their heartbeat. It tends to put everything into perspective in just a matter of a few short minutes.
12. Dance Party
Moving to the music always helps in clearing your mind. Put on some music you all enjoy, make sure it is not too loud so that it does not have the opposite effect of what you are aiming for. Then, just dance it out with your kids and have fun with it.
13. Cook Together
Try new recipes, help each other out, and make whatever you are craving yourself instead of ordering takeout! It is a great activity to do with your family to promote a healthy mindset and environment.
14. Learn an Odd Skill
Learn to sew or stitch – do something unique – something that used to be considered a basic skill but people no longer care about anymore. Teach your kids, teach each other, sit in silence trying to figure it out, and do whatever you need to feel at peace.
15. Talk About Your Passions
Everyone has different interests that their family does not necessarily understand. But that is okay as long as their family is willing to listen and try to understand. This promotes a healthy conversation and strengthens bonds. It also develops positive parenting solutions because it builds connection with your child and develops understanding of each other and our passions.
16. Solve a Puzzle
Go old school! Solving puzzles used to be one of the core family activities back in the day. But people do not do it that often anymore. Solving a complicated puzzle using teamwork with your kids is the way to go if you want to promote a healthy environment in your home.
17. Team Up and Play Games
If you have more than one child, this method works great. Play something simple like hide-and-seek, except team each child up with a different parent. When the children work with their parents as a team it promotes a mindful environment.
18. Do a Craft
Make cards for the children’s grandparents or make a 3D version of your children’s favourite cartoon character. Get creative and have no rules. Help your children in making whatever they decide to.
19. Discuss Your Favourite Book/Movie
As humans we get very passionate about the media we grow to love. Discussing it with your parents and feeling heard makes it all the better. It may develop deeper connections with your children’s interests. It also feels therapeutic to hear them talk about the fictional characters they admire and why.
20. Immerse in Nature
Go to a park and play with the ducks, turtles, pigeons – any animals that are present there. Play together as a family, notice the movements of the birds and see how they live in their natural habitat. If you are in isolation and have a backyard then use that as your nature time and turn it into a rainforest using your imagination and things around the house.
21. Have a Picnic
Make your own sandwiches, pack your favourite drink, and head outside. Find any suitable spot you prefer and sit there, eat, and have a conversation with your children about absolutely anything in the world. Parenting courses often allude to how spending such quality time outside with your children is essential. Again, if you are in isolation set up a picnic in your backyard and make a big event out of it.
22. Help Each Other Let Go
A big part of being mindful is practising compassion for oneself and for others. That is why it is a key mindfulness activity for families to talk over things that bother them in a calm and understanding manner. Then advise each other on how to move on to the next step in their life, leaving their past behind. You can place these feelings in a bubble and simply blow them away together.
23. Family Yoga
If you haven’t tried yoga, you can grow to get the hang of it. And in some cases, even if you don’t, simply attempting to do so with your loved ones can make you feel at peace. There are a lot of yoga classes on youtube that you can follow, or simply do some stretches and pretend that they are different animals to make it interesting for the kids.
24. Eye Gazing
This is a form of sitting in silence but there is just one difference. You look at each other carefully in the process. You appreciate your child’s features and vice versa. It promotes a feeling of comfort and gratitude. See how long you can do it for, and in silence.
25. Jedi Listening
This is an exercise where you sit still together and put a timer on for one minute or longer. Then in silence you need to notice and count how many different things you can hear. Then you share this with each other to see who got the most.
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ABOUT THE FOUNDER
Internationally Recognised Emotional Literacy & Mindfulness Expert Tenille Bentley is the founder of The Emotional Literacy and Mindfulness Academy and the author of the children’s emotional literacy books with Jazzy and Pinky and The Energy Ball. Giving children a wonderful introduction to understanding their emotions and what to do with them.
Tenille has been featured on Channel 9 News and other major outlets. Her work has been recognized in the community by The Governor of Western Australia, The Prime Minister of Australia, and Australian Financial Review.
As a child, she experienced severe anxiety and emotional traumas as well as bullying which left her feeling isolated and unable to understand why she was feeling the way she did. As an adult, this impacted her ability to make healthy decisions because she didn’t have the tools to understand her emotions.
This is why she is passionate about equipping parents with the tools to support their children to make better decisions in life and healthy ones to help support and create a balanced home life.