Mindful Listening - A Great Way Of Introducing Mindfulness To Kids
Rachel here at Mindful Parenting, back with one of my favourite mindfulness techniques called Mindful Listening. Some of you may have come across this before. There are various ways you can practice this, as everything in Mindfulness, I just wanted to share one of those ways with you today. You can use this in any way you want. It is something that you can do on your own, or with the kids. It is a great mindful exercise to start using with your family or for teachers you can also make this a mindful exercise for groups, of all ages.
What Is Mindful Listening?
It is a simple mindfulness exercise:
It can be done anytime and anywhere - in fact, it is even better outdoors!
You can get the kids off those screens and engaging in something fun to do outside.
It's a great calm down techniques or can be used as a tool for focus, or just to change the mood a little bit!
What Do I Need To Practice Mindful Listening?
The other nice thing is you can do this anywhere at home or at any time, any place, anywhere.
Who Is Mindful Listening Suitable For?
It is one of those lovely mindful exercises that is suitable for anyone. I have run this in schools with children as young as 4 years old. They loved it!
Can This Help My Anxious Child?
It is also a great technique to help with anxiety. If you have an anxious child then this mindfulness activity can really help them in those moments when their anxiety levels are high. As a mum to an anxious daughter, I still use this one. It allows her to focus on something very tangible rather than listening to the torrent of 'what ifs' that can be overwhelming.
How Do I Start With Mindful Listening?
So the first thing I want you to do is to get yourself into a comfortable position. You could be seated, or you could be lying down. You can be on the floor, or even in bed.
Find a position now that you're going to be comfortable with, so take a couple of moments and as you're getting comfortable, I want you to think about your posture. If you are sitting, try and keep you back straight. If lying down, be aware of your body against the floor underneath you.
If you are sitting, thinking about your spine sitting on top of your hips so that we're nice and upright. We're not forcing it so nice and loose. Have a little move around to make sure that you're able to keep this position and be comfortable in this position. If you're sitting, then your feet are going to be flat on the floor because I want you to have some connection underneath you and your hands will just be in your lap again, just easy and relaxed.
If you're lying down. I want you to think about the connection of your body against the surface that you're lying on, whether it's the floor or you're outside and it's the ground. So you're on a bed, have the legs a little bit apart and just allow the feet just very slightly just to fall open very naturally as they would do. And your arms, if you're lying down, just either side of you, just where they're comfortable. You are just going to try and have the neck long where you're lying down so that your chin is tucked a little bit and that gives you a nice long spine when you're lying down.
Take a couple of minutes, a few moments, just to get yourselves settled. You can shift around if you want to make yourself comfy, make sure you are really connected to whatever you are sitting or lying on.
So I would like you to start by closing your eyes.
Mindful Listening - Guiding You Through
And then you're just going to take a deep breath in through the nose. Out through the mouth. And again, breathing in and out. I want you to keep your eyes closed and just focus on the sounds. What can you hear? Outside. Can you hear traffic? Can you hear children playing? Or birds tweeting. Somebody talking. Take your focus and attention. To the noise, it is far away from you as you can. Focus on the sounds far away. Be aware of each separate noise, just let the brain focus on those noises. Don't let them irritate you or offend you. Just be aware of them, you don't have to attach any thought or feeling to them, you are just observing them as they are something that's happening somewhere else. Just taking a couple of moments. Just scan your hearing, any other noises that you can hear. That's furthest away from you.
Don't worry, if the brain is wandering and thoughts are coming in, let them come in. And then get your attention back to the sound. Bring that focus back to the sounds. Let everything else drift away.
Now, move your attention slightly closer. What can you hear nearby to you? The noises in the room. Is the clock ticking? Or somebody else is moving. Or you can hear the wind moving the curtains in the rain. If you're outside doing this, are the noises nearer to you, can you hear the wind through the trees? Or the rustling of leaves. Just take that attention, bring it nearer. Again, we're not judging it. Just observing it with our sense of hearing, using it to see what's going on around us. And if those thoughts come in. That's OK. They're in they're floating around, they're trying to get your attention. Acknowledge that they're there and try and find another sound to focus on. Now, bring your attention. Much nearer. Your own body, take all that attention and focus it inside.
Can you hear your breath? Take a breath in. Can you hear that? Can you hear the air as it comes into your nostrils? Can you hear your heartbeat? What other noises when you start focusing in? Can you really hear? If those thoughts are coming in and those other sounds are coming in. It's OK, just keep acknowledging them. Then find something else to focus that hearing on.
As you swallow. What does that sound like? If it helps and you need to have your hands back on your body to feel that connection. So you tune in to listening to your own body. Take a few moments and really listen to what is happening inside you. Your breath and heartbeat, connecting you to your own awareness.
Now, take that attention wider again. If you're with other people, can you hear them moving or rustling? Can you hear the sounds of nature around you, if you're outside? If you're inside maybe somebody else moving in the house, can you hear that and then take it wider again?
Just bring that all together so all becomes as it normally is, where you are now just aware of these different sounds. From far to near or blending into one. We're not judging them. Just being aware of those noises that are around. And then slowly bring that focus back to yourself again. Just feel that breath coming in, just breathing normally, we're not forcing anything. Just be aware of that. The breath coming in.
Just breathe at your own pace. Take a few moments to just be aware of you body, the connection to what is around you, the sensations in your body and then slowly wiggling your fingers and toes, with the eyes closed, see how that feels.
And then slowly open your eyes. How does that feel?
Funny how we can emotionally react to sound? Quite often you can find those gaps between the sound, the in-between the tick and the took. Little moments of silence that come in and we can focus on those. Or maybe you found the big noises great to tune into? We all experience this differently, and after trying this I would like you to take a few minutes and reflect. Or even to ask questions if you are doing this with the kids. It is amazing the variety of responses you will get from what is the same environment.
You can really play with this one and kids love it. Take it out with you, or use it before bed to calm things down. It really does have many uses.
I personally like to use this when I need to get some focus back. It allows my brain some space, which then enables me to have more clarity on work when I am looking at those longs 'to-do lists'!
This is part of the Mindful Parenting Series, which has other useful mindful techniques for parents and kids. You can also get the Mindful Grounding script which has a really easy mindful meditation that you can use with the family.
You can watch the full video below. Don't forget to subscribe to the Youtube channel too.
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Good luck on your mindful parenting journey