My Aunt Nancy has taught Kindergarten for 25 years, and she swears by mindfulness practices for kids! When she started using these practices in her classroom, she saw a huge change in the demeanor of specific kids and of the class as a whole. Nancy gave us a copy of her favorite mindfulness for kids book, called “Just Breathe: Meditation, Mindfulness, Movement and More.” We have used them in our family and seen changes.
Here are our top 3 that I recommend you try too! They are all quick, doable and geared towards kids and families!
Mindfulness Activity 1: Breathing Meditation
Breath is at the start of all calming practices, this is a basic guide that only takes one minute, and you can do it anywhere!
1. Find a Comfortable, Quiet Place
2. Turn off all distractions
3. Sit comfortably, and close your eyes if you like.
4. Take a deep breath in through your nose so your stomach goes out.
5. Pause, hold that breath.
6. Now breathe out slowly through your mouth.
7. On your next breath, breathe in through your nose for 3 seconds.
8. Pause, for 2 seconds.
9. Breathe out for 4 seconds
10. Repeat for as long as feels good.
11. When you’re finished, open your eyes and say THANK YOU to yourself for giving your brain and body this experience.
Mindfulness Activity 2: That Safe, Happy Place
This exercise takes about 15 minutes, and is best achieved in a quiet place. Kids love this exercise, and can typically find their happy place quite easily!
1. Find a quiet place without distractions and close your eyes.
2. Take several deep breaths.
3. Notice how you are sitting. How you feel. What you notice.
4. Continue to be intentional about your breath.
5. Imagine a time when you felt really happy. When you felt loved, full of energy, excited and peaceful. Choose one time.
6. Focus on that experience. What were you wearing? Who is around you? 7. What can you hear? Do you smell anything at all? Taste where you are. 8. What taste makes you feel good?
9. Take several more intentional deep breaths.
10. Now, notice how you feel? Pay attention to your heart and breathe and feeling of peace.
11. Take a few more breaths and tell yourself to remember this feeling.
12. Now open your eyes, and if you like, write some notes or draw a picture about how you feel.
Mindfulness Activity 3: Falling Asleep
I think every child has nights or seasons of life when it’s hard to fall asleep. Kids (and adults too!) can have racing thoughts, worries, or fears that arise at bed time. This mindfulness method gives you something to focus on to relax. Here’s what to do:
1. Lie in bed, get cozy and all tucked in.
2. Put one hand on your stomach and the other just above your heart.
3. Close your eyes, and take deep breaths, watching your stomach fill and deflate.
4. Now put your hands gently by your sides.
5. As you take a breathe in, say in your head, “one. two. three.”
6. As you breathe out, say in your head, “one. Two. three. Four.”
7. Do this ten times.
8. When you are done, continue to breathe normally and wish yourself sweet dreams.
9. If you’re still tossing and turning, start the process and take 10 more counting breaths.
I hope you find these mindfulness strategies helpful as our family has! There is power in breath and intention, and it affects the way we in our family, feel and behave. I hope you try it too!