Mindful Moment: Floor Time

September 12, 2016 | Julie Luzarraga

I visited my 2 year-old nephew at his Montessori school last week and was reminded of how much I love the concept of floor time.  Floor time is moving from your chair and getting on a child’s level; letting the younger guide the trajectory of the play.  Instead of telling a child what to do or how to do it, you follow their lead; without judgment or trying to change it.  It’s very similar to practicing mindfulness.

After juice and pumpkin bread, my sweet nephew took my hand and led me to his classroom.  We got out a rug and picked out one item to work with.  Sitting on the floor, I found myself immersed in the simplicity of stacking blocks, pushing small trucks through the tunnels he had built, and just watching him work.  I didn’t think about checking my phone or what I had to do next.  It was a joy to just be in the moment, on the floor, and stacking brightly colored blocks with someone I love.

We can all benefit from floor time.  This may be with a child, in which case you just follow their lead.  It could be with a friend or family member.  We can also do our own floor time.  Think of it as listening and being mindful to the child inside of you. To practice floor time on your own:

  • Set aside time in which you are unlikely to be interrupted. If someone shows up, invite them to join you!
  • Choose something playful to do mindfully. This may be a puzzle, coloring, playing with a pet, or anything that doesn’t involve a lot of thinking or multitasking.  Not feeling that creative?  It’s okay.  Maybe your floor time is your favorite cup of tea or coffee.  Just make sure it is enjoyable and not work.
  • Get on the floor. If the floor doesn’t work, find a space you don’t normally do work at.  This can be outside too.  Just being on the floor changes our perspective.
  • Have fun! Let yourself enjoy this time. Don’t do anything else while you are doing floor time – no television, cells phones, or other devices.
  • Keep coming back to the play. When your mind wanders or you get distracted, gently bring it back to what you are doing in the moment.  We all need play and enjoyment!

Mindful moments are short practices to be used throughout your week to relax, integrate and center yourself.  Inspired by the wisdom traditions and science, mindful moments are meant to be accessible and simple enough for anyone to practice.  Many teachers and leaders in integrative medicine have influenced our approach to mindful moments. Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”  Pema Chodron would say it is “practicing in the gaps.”  Look for the weekly mindful moment every Monday.  May it support you in finding your center to live life to the fullest.

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