Spring mindfulness inspiration for families

Spring mindfulness inspiration for families

Mindfulness can be described as the ability to be present in the moment, without judgement. The practice has become increasingly popular over the years, with both science-based and spiritual techniques supporting stressed-out individuals to feel calmer and less anxious, and to reduce symptoms of low mood and depression.

I spent many years of my adult life being anywhere but the present moment. When I became a mother, so much of my time was divided between the demands of my tiny human, alongside those of a household and a demanding job, and my brain only wanted to focus on the to-do list ahead or ruminate anxiously over the past. At 12 months postpartum, I finally received a diagnosis of postnatal depression and birth trauma (PTSD) and discovered the magic of mindfulness on my recovery journey.

Without sounding too clichéd, it completely changed my life for the better. So much so that several years ago, I decided on a new career path and trained as a mindfulness practitioner to help others. Initially, I began working with mums who had had similar experiences to me. Then, eventually, I started teaching mindfulness in the wider community, to adults and children alike, from all backgrounds. Fast forward to now and I’m blessed with two beautiful (and energetic!) boys, aged 2 and 6, and my most important job as a mindfulness practitioner has been sharing with them the benefits of mindful living, and combining this with our love of nature and a more cyclical approach to life.

You may notice that children are in fact the best mindfulness teachers there are. With their inquisitive nature and curious approach to each new day, they may well be able to guide you on a mindful adventure of their own!

I appreciate just how busy life can be, especially when raising children, so I’m passionate about teaching mindfulness in ways that feel manageable. I’ve put together some of my favourite spring-inspired mindfulness ideas for families. Whether you choose to use them for a one-off fun activity, or as part of supporting your family’s emotional wellbeing, I hope you find the ideas easy, enjoyable and effective.

Flower breathing

With a real or imagined freshly bloomed daisy in your hand, inhale deeply through your nose (as if breathing in the scent ), filling the lungs with air, and exhale slowly through the mouth, as if to blow the petals in the breeze. Repeat three to five times to soothe the nervous system and feel grounded.

Mindful walk, trail or adventure

At this time of year, tuning into our senses on a mindful walk can expose all kinds of hidden treasures and signs of new life. By noticing each of our five senses, we move from our ‘doing’ mind to our ‘being’ mind, feeling more grounded. Perhaps pick one sense at a time or ask your children to choose.

Sight. Look for new shoots emerging from the ground, or ripples in nearby puddles and streams. Maybe you can spot a squirrel darting up a tree trunk, or a family of ducks crossing a pond.

Sound. Listen out for different birdsong, or the rustling of the wind through the trees.

Touch. Notice the sensation of squelching in the mud, or soft, bouncy grass underfoot. Senses combine when jumping on cracking twigs or bumpy gravel; the sound and feel together can evoke a childlike joy, even for us grown-ups!

Taste. Whether you take something with you or are adept at foraging for safe-to-eat berries and herbs that begin to grow at this time of year, mindful eating can really bring us into the here and now.

Smell. Ever noticed how the smell of freshly cut grass can transport you to a childhood memory? Or how walking past a lavender bush has you thinking about your grandmother? There is a strong link between our scent receptors and memory, which enables us to reminisce fondly, and to create new scent memories. Have fun with your children exploring the scent of crushed mint leaves or fallen rose petals. If you’re close to farmland, you may also experience the aroma of hay and muck!

Get your hands dirty!

Gardening can be the ultimate mindfulness experience. Whether you have room for a small tub of cress seeds on the windowsill, or a patch of garden for planting herbs, spend time feeling the soil in your fingers, and (as above) notice the sights and smells of what you are planting. Children can also reap the fruits of their labour, learning cause and effect of seed to fruit. Try asking questions about their observations, encouraging them to discuss what they can feel, see and smell too.

Spring affirmations

I’m a huge advocate of the use of positive affirmations. Our brain is hard wired with a negative bias to spot risk (once essential in the stone age). However, this means we subconsciously focus on criticism and selfdoubt far more than our accomplishments or unique attributes. Positive affirmations can help us to wire new thought patterns in the brain and create new truths and belief systems. With the same confidence and conviction you would use when praising a loved one, try saying some of these seasonal sentences. You can also create your own using uplifting words and phrases.

For younger children: ‘I shine just like the sun.’

For older children, particularly those having a difficult day: ‘Just like nature, I don’t need to bloom all year round. I allow myself to rest, retreat and breathe when I need to, in order to bloom once again!’ 


If you’re new to meditation or you worry that you or your child might struggle to be in stillness, know that it will get easier with practice. Despite popular belief, the aim is not to clear the mind of all thoughts; our brain is designed to think! Noticing distractions and seeing if you can return your focus to your breath is a wonderful way to build your practice and train the brain. Take the pressure off and let go of expectations. A few deep, slow breaths might be enough for younger ones, and that’s perfectly OK. For older children, try a body scan meditation. Ask them to imagine a butterfly landing on their head, eyes, nose, and so on, until you get to their toes. The visualisation can help children focus their thoughts a little more easily.

There are hundreds of ways to meditate, whether you use an app, spend a few moments in silence, chant mantras or listen to bells. With practice, it can help strengthen the mind muscle, give us the ability to gain control over our thoughts and practise self-compassion. Try variations of Jon KabatZinn’s mountain meditation. The concept is that the mountain stays strong throughout the seasons, knowing that spring and summer will arrive once again. 


Emma Martin is a mindfulness practitioner and mum of two based in the South-East. Emma offers mindfulness-based life coaching, workplace wellbeing sessions, seasonal workshops, and school classes and assemblies, online across the UK, or in person in Surrey and the surrounding area. For more information visit emmamartinmindfulness.com and on Instagram @emmamartinmindfulness.

Illustration by Aimée Pattenden
On Instagram @artby_aims


Published in issue 83. Accurate at the time this issue went to print. 

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