Mindfulness. By now, everyone has heard of the word mindfulness. The idea of being in the present moment. While this skill can be practiced by adults at yoga, pilates, and through different guided meditation exercises, you may not know that the value of mindfulness for children is incredible! Mindfulness has proven to be extremely helpful in reducing stress and anxiety…today we are going to focus on mindful strategies for kids.
As stated above mindfulness is defined as “ Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through the practice of meditation and through other training.” For kids, this can best be understood as slowing down, taking a deep breath, and focusing on one thing at a time.
As a teacher, I have incorporated mindfulness practice into my classroom teaching instruction and let me tell you – it’s made ALL the difference. Here are a few of the techniques that I have used and different modifications for you to use these at home!
1. Mindful coloring – there are thousands of mindful coloring sheets that are free, or you could opt for a mandala coloring book. The ease of coloring and shading mixed with the patterns eludes a calming vibe. Here is a link to some of my favorite coloring pages: https://www.betweensessions.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/mindfulness-coloring-book-4_25-16.pdf
2. Guided meditations – there are so many wonderful free resources that have an array of guided meditations ranging from appreciation strategies to show gratitude to body scan sessions. They are kid friendly and use language that is helpful for children to calm down and be in the moment. Here is a link to my favorite free guided meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWOHcGF1TmcThere are apps like headspace and calm that require minimal monetary subscriptions that have guided meditations and can schedule you based on your preferences. I highly recommend these!
3. Calming music – my go to pandora station is a mix of spa music and calming sounds. This can really be done anywhere, anytime and helps to focus and relax. Search: in pandora and you will be amazed with the options
4. Crafting – It is shown that crafts can help students use sensory and tactile skills to become absorbed in activities that are for the present moment. Try making a sand jar or a gel bottle. The act of making these paired with the use of them is incredible outlet for stress. Here is a link to my favorite craft activity: https://heartmindkids.com/how-to-make-a-glitter-jar-for-mindfulness/
5. Get outside! It doesn’t matter the season, getting outside is known to be a mindful activity because you are up and moving. Remember, mindfulness is not about laying around and chilling, its about engaging your brain into focusing on the present moment.
Have a mindfulness strategy that your child loves? We would love to hear about it!