30 Mindfulness Activities for Parents to Help You Relax and Focus on the Present

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We know that you have a busy schedule, especially if your family’s usual routine has changed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, mindfulness can be a helpful way to decompress. Just a few minutes spent focusing on and accepting your thoughts, sensations, or emotions can help you recharge and face whatever the day holds for you and your family.

These 30 activities were selected with parents in mind, and they are great for practicing a little mindfulness every day. Try a few by yourself or with your children to see which exercises work best for you.

1. If you only have a few minutes to yourself, try one of these one-minute mindfulness exercises—like mindfully chewing a raisin or repeating your heart’s aspiration.

2. Download Insight Timer, a free app that houses a database of thousands of meditations with categories like Improve Your Sleep, Managing Stress, and Meditations for Kids.

3. Create a mindfulness jar with your children as a family reminder to stop and keep your mind in the present.

4. Try this five senses activity designed to ground you to your surroundings and clear your thoughts in five minutes.

5. Make time for a little self-care every day, such as going on a walk or calling a friend to chat.

6. While your kids are asleep or otherwise occupied, find a place where you can be alone and savor a few minutes of silence.

7. Try square breathing, an exercise that can help you calm down and stay in the present by relaxing your nervous system.

8. Practice these mindful yoga poses when you have a free moment to clear your mind and focus on your movements.

9. Try this kindness meditation, which encourages you to practice compassion for others and yourself.

10. Start your day by repeating a positive affirmation and hold it close to you throughout the day.

11. Get your kids together and have a mindful freeze dance party as a family.

12. Thinking about what you’re thankful for can make difficult situations easier to deal with. Start a gratitude journal to focus on and remember the positives for a few minutes each day.

13. When you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, remember these six steps to mindfully deal with emotions, from acceptance to letting go.

14. Try standing like a tree, a meditation that uses visualization to calm and center your thoughts.

15. During your meals, try mindful eating—a practice that encourages you to focus on your sensations and connect with your food during your meal.

16. Go on a mindful hike to immerse yourself in nature and express gratitude for the outdoors.

17. Before you start your day, try a little goal visualization to decide what you want to get done. It could be something big, like making an organization plan for your home, or a smaller task like helping a child with math homework.

18. Coloring can be a relaxing way to decompress and focus on the present. Check out these free coloring pages for adults from Crayola and print one out to try yourself.

19. Try a mindful workout (#4 on the link) by contemplating the sensations in your body and expressing gratitude for all it can do while you exercise.

20. Do this guided meditation for creating a safe place after a stressful day to help yourself calm down before bed.

21. While you’re at home, try this undivided attention exercise (#4 on the infographic), which encourages you to focus on an object in your home you may not have considered before.

22. Try a body scan meditation with your kids to consider what you feel from head to toe and to relax your muscles.

23. If you have access to a backyard, practice a little mindful gardening as an excuse to spend time outdoors.

24. Practice mindful walking, a meditation that engages your whole body and can help you recognize your thoughts and sensations as you go about your day.

25. Play some Mindful Jenga (#39 on the link) with your family, an enlightening twist on the classic board game.

26. If you have any plants outside, try this mindful leaf exercise to practice observing and appreciating things for what they are.

27. When you’re stressed or worried, try the 5,4,3,2,1 coping technique to decompress.

28. Write a self-compassionate letter and read it when you’re feeling low on self-esteem to remember and appreciate your many strengths.

29. Put on this instrumental mindfulness playlist from Spotify, which is full of soothing tracks you can listen to while meditating or trying a breathing exercise.

30. Do this gratitude scavenger hunt with your kids as a way to help your whole family appreciate the positive people and moments in your lives.

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