Practicing mindfulness with your kids can help them deal with the stress of the pandemic

Child practicing mindfulness

MADISON, Wis. — Each week, News 3 Now’s Time for Kids segment focuses on different ways to help your children cope with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now that students are stuck at home and can’t see their friends, it can be an anxious time for families.

Dr. Lisa Baker, a psychologist at SSM Health’s St. Mary’s Hospital, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in the present moment with an attitude of curiosity and friendliness.”

She said practicing mindfulness can help regulate your mood, especially in times of uncertainty. Even outside of the stress brought on by the coronavirus, Dr. Baker said the practice can be beneficial both physically and mentally.

“Our brains are often jumping ahead or jumping behind, evaluating our past or trying to anticipate the future. So it’s really a practice that can help counter those states of mind that we can find ourselves in, especially during times of stress when we’re trying to anticipate outcomes that we may not have control over,” said Baker.

For kids, mindfulness can focus on regulating breath and being present in the moment, together as a family.

She suggests introducing the practice to kids during a calm time, not as a punishment. It’s also helpful to practice regularly.

“It can help us just quiet the mind and settle and start to see more clearly what we do have control over and what we don’t,” said Dr. Baker.

SSM Health put together a 5 minute mindfulness practice for families to try together: