Last year, psychologist Daniel Goleman posited in the New York Times that, based on a trio of reputable studies, mindfulness exercises may help kids and adults with ADHD gain cognitive control, manage impulses and maintain focus without relying on medication over the long term, as the efficacy of drugs are believed to wane after the first year of treatment. Here are four popular mindfulness methods to try, for five minutes or less a day, several times a week.
- Breathing buddies: Have your child lie on his back, with a favorite stuffed animal placed on his tummy. As he breathes in and out, tell him to focus on the way the toy rises and falls with his chest.
- Spidey senses: Gather a small bell and aromatic piece of food, like a berry. Tell your child to close her eyes and activate her Spidey senses. Ring the bell and tell her to raise her hand when she can no longer hear its peal reverberate. Hand her the berry and have her ID what it is based on its smell, touch and taste.
- Magnetic hands: Instruct your child to breathe deeply and stretch his arms all the way out in front of his shoulders, palms facing. Have him pretend a magnet is drawing his hands together. While he imagines this, tell him to close his hands slowly until they nearly touch, then open them back out again. Repeat.
- Wow factor: Write the word “Wow!” in bright colors on a sheet of paper. Let your child write about or draw all the things that make her think “wow” around the word, then talk about why her choices fill her with wonder and joy.