Mindfulness provides children with simple, practical tools to them regulate their emotions and focus their attention. They develop better concentration skills and improved performance and it also helps them deal with tough emotions and improves impulse control. And it can just help to calm them down when they are super excited!
Here are some ideas to help children re-centre themselves using mindfulness strategies such as movement, deep breathing, and meditation.
Sit down and be still and quiet. Put your hand on your belly and take a deep breath in through your nose – count to 3 as you breath in, and notice how your belly moves. Now breathe out slowly counting to 3 and feel your belly move down. Do this 10 times.
Using our Senses
Sit still and quiet with steady breaths and close your eyes. Notice one thing you can hear, smell, feel and maybe taste. Now open your eyes - what can you see that you have not noticed before?
Sit still and quiet and think about a time you felt really happy. Try to remember as much as possible about it - the sounds, the tastes, what you saw. What did you remember?
How does it feel?
Sit still and quiet and hold a small object in your hand. Close your eyes. Notice how heavy it is, is it smooth or spikey, warm or cold? turn it over and feel it. Maybe smell it? Try to notice something new about this object.
Tense and Release
Sit still and quiet or lie down. Starting at your feet, scrunch up your toes and tense you ankles – hold for 5 seconds then release and relax your feet. Now move to your calf muscles and knees – tense them for 5 then relax. Continue up the body, then onto the head. Scrunch up your eyes, lips and chin for 5 seconds then release. Now take a deep breath and release making sure that your whole body is relaxed. Take 5 deep breaths in this relaxed state.
How are you feeling?
Sit still and quiet. Think about how you feel right now. Are you happy, sad, mad, excited, scared, fed up. How do you know you are feeling this and what does it feel like in your body?
Practicing mindfulness can be incredibly empowering for children. It can help them manage stress and anxiety when it happen and helps with self-regulation, promotes positive emotions and self-compassion. Watch out for our next post where we have a set of FREE printable mindfulness cards for children.