Holiday Mindfulness Hacks

Introduce your kids to mindfulness during the holidays with these engaging activities
The holiday season is a time for parents to practice mindfulness and impart this invaluable skill to their children. Teaching children the art of presence and gratitude can help them navigate the holiday season with a sense of calm and appreciation. We will explore some engaging mindfulness hacks parents can use to introduce their chil- dren to the joys of mindfulness during this festive time.

  1. Mindful Advent Calendar
    An advent calendar is a popular tradition during the holiday sea- son. However, instead of filling it with treats or small gifts, incorpo- rate mindfulness into the daily surprises. Include activity prompts like drawing a picture of something they are grateful for, doing a random act of kindness or spending time in nature. By involving mindfulness in the advent calendar, children will learn to appreciate the small joys and develop a sense of gratitude throughout the season.
  2. Gratitude Jar
    Create a gratitude jar as a family and place it in a central loca- tion in your home. Encourage everyone, including your children, to write something they are thankful for each day and place it in the jar. At the end of the holiday season, gather as a family and read the notes aloud. This practice cultivates gratitude, strengthens family bonds and fosters a positive mindset.
  3. Mindful Crafts
    Engage your children in mindful craft activities that promote presence and creativity. For example, encourage them to create homemade holiday decorations using natural materials like pine- cones or leaves. As they work on their crafts, guide them to focus on the process, paying attention to the textures, colors and sensa- tions involved. This hands-on activity will help them stay grounded in the present moment and cultivate a sense of mindfulness.
  4. Mindful Listening
    The holiday season is filled with music, laughter and joyous conversations. Teach your children the art of mindful listening by playing a game. Sit together as a family, close your eyes and take 10 Parenting OC Magazine | December 2023
    turns identifying different sounds around you. Focus on the details. of each sound, whether it is the jingle of bells or the crackling of a fireplace. This activity develops listening skills and helps us become more attuned to the present moment.
  5. Acts of Kindness
    The holiday season is a perfect time to practice acts of kind- ness. Teach your children the joy of giving by engaging in small acts of kindness together. Bake cookies for the neighbors, donate toys or clothes to those in need, or volunteer at a local charity. As you spread kindness, discuss with your children how these acts impact others positively and how it makes them feel in return. This prac- tice fosters empathy, compassion and a deeper understanding of the true spirit of the holiday season.
  6. Mindful Storytime
    Choose holiday-themed books with meaningful messages of gratitude, love and kindness. Before reading, encourage your chil- dren to take a few deep breaths to settle into the present moment. As you read together, pause at specific points to discuss the charac- ters’ emotions or the lessons learned. This interactive reading expe- rience allows children to connect with the story on a deeper level and encourages mindful reflection.
    Teaching children the art of being present and grateful dur- ing the holiday season is a gift that will benefit them throughout their lives. By incorporating these mindfulness tools into your fam- ily’s holiday traditions, you can help your children develop a sense of calm, appreciation and compassion. Embrace the season’s joy together and create meaningful memories that will last a lifetime. Remember, the true magic of the holidays lies in mindful connec- tion and the love we share with one another.

Anthony Cupo is a trained mindfulness facilitator (TMF) from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He is a co-owner of Stepping Forward Counseling Center, LLC, and has been meditating for over 30 years. Our article is also published in ParentingOC’s Magazine!