Cool, Calm, & Connected: 4 Mindfulness Activities for Your Family Routine

Mindfulness and Mandalas

Mindfulness and meditation set the stage within us for compassion and empathy.

The research continues to demonstrate this remarkable benefit of intentional living.  The Atlantic's article “The Kindness Cure”  reviews the research and concludes that "meditation might fundamentally alter how we treat those around us."

Spending mindful time as a family creates a sense of contentment and connection. This feeling makes every other aspect of our lives, including reaching a helping hand to others, more doable, even amid a busy schedule.

I've been slacking on two major goals lately: daily meditation and frequent one-on-one time with each of my kids.

Sometimes, that's just how life goes. But the loss of this habit of mindful connection is noticeable. Each member of our family is more moody, less charitable.

You know that feeling when you're stretched too thin? When everyone in your family is on edge? When you can't focus as well as you'd like? When you're frazzled, disconnected, and anxious?

This is the feeling we usually avoid thanks to regular self-care and habits of mindfulness.

It’s clear; we have drifted away from our usual routines, pulled by the tides of an overloaded schedule. In the spirit of spring cleaning, it’s time to sweep out the bad habits and recommit to the good ones.

It’s time to renew our commitment to daily, mindful time together.

Join us with mindful activities to reconnect your family.

1. Create an "I Feel Peaceful" Mandala.

I recently revisited this project with all three of my kids. Once the pieces are cut out, it's simple, meditative, and opens the hearts in unexpected ways. When asked where he feels most peaceful, my five-year-old answered, "the dining room, because that's where we eat together and light candles and color together and do all kinds of things."

He enjoyed the project so much, we completed a second one and made a little video to go with it. Check it out.

Also, the project was designed to accompany Douglas Woods' A Quiet Place, so grab a copy and get started.

2. Move to the Music.

I like to argue that music - whether you're moving to it, making it, or daydreaming to it -  is its own form of mediation. Depending on our energy levels, we connect while dancing, singing (you're welcome, I'm not including a video of this!), or just listening from the comfort of the couch.

My younger daughter relies on a solo musical escape when she gets home from school. When it's time to draw her back into the world of family life, I usually join her for a little one-on-one dance party. I swear, it's kinetic mediation. And even if we just pause together for one song, she wraps her little arms around my neck and tells me, "thanks mom."

Peace - it doesn't mean being with out chaos, but finding calm amidst it.

3. Stop, Breathe & Think (because there's an app for that).

This app is delightful, and will engage kids of any age (at, least, all three of mine have enjoyed it). My tween and I find it especially meaningful to meditate together with the app.

After whatever guided mediation we do, conversation flows more easily about deeper subjects, thoughts she might not bring up otherwise. She mentions friends she's worried about or new goals she's set for herself. We both miss these moments of sharing when busy days force us to skip it.

4. Step outside.

Whether we get out doors for ten minutes to star gaze on a chilly night, or spend the after school hours in the woods nearby, time outside is a habit of mindfulness our whole family relies on. Our pesky technical devices stay tucked away in a back pack or safely inside the house. 

Often, our conversations aren't profound or memorable. They're distilled to murmurs of "look at this mushroom" or shouts of "race ya!"

How does your family create mindful, meditative connections?

Whatever activity helps your family slow down and stay present, make more time for it. These moments of mindful connection build your energy for future acts of kindness.

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