When you have a child with complex needs, life can be complicated, hectic and you may have little time or energy to take on new or different things. Accessing groups or activities outside of the home may just not be possible. This page is dedicated to enhancing your family's well-being through mindfulness and relaxation techniques.

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What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a form of meditation focusing on the present moment, thoughts, feelings, and sensations. It has the potential to improve mental wellbeing by increasing awareness of unhelpful thoughts. Mindfulness can be seamlessly integrated into everyday activities, such as dressing, brushing teeth, making tea, eating, housework, and walking. Explore mindfulness techniques through the following exercises:

How to be mindful


Concentrate on a single activity


Focus on sensations and sounds


Be aware of your surroundings


Acknowledge and gently return your mind to the present

Other simple exercises

Breathing exercise

Meditation exercise

  • Settle into an upright position.
  • Ground yourself by sweeping attention from the soles of your feet to the top of your head, connecting with your body.
  • Direct attention to the sensation of breathing. Count each breath from 1 to 10.
  • Notice wandering thoughts, feelings, or sensations. Label them with the first descriptor that comes to mind. Gently return focus to the breath, restarting the count at 1.
  • Gradually increase duration, up to 35 minutes, twice a day.

Mindful walking

  • Walk attentively, concentrating on your surroundings.
  • Tune into sensations in your body.
  • Explore guided mindful walking meditations here.

Resources for children and teens

Book and story recommendations

  • Alphabreaths - Christopher Willard and Daniel Rechtschaffen
  • Sitting Still like a Frog - Eline Snel
  • Growing Up Mindful - Christopher Willard
  • Relax like a cat

Resources for adults


  • Headspace
  • Calm
  • Insight Timer
  • Simple Habit
  • Buddhify
  • Breethe
  • Plum Village

Compare mindfulness apps here.

Book recommendations

  • Mindfulness in 8 weeks - Michael Chaskalson
  • Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment Robert Wright
  • Full Catastrophe Living: how to cope with stress, pain and illness using mindfulness meditation - Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Miracle of Mindfulness: The classic guide to meditation - Thich Nhat Hanh

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