Mindfulness Meditation for Kids

April 25, 2016 | Jennifer

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From school time to playtime, anxiety weighs on a lot of children’s minds. Daily life can feel like a stressful chore – quite the opposite of what many people think of childhood!  

Girl meditating on a rock
Photo Credit: Sebastian Wiertz on a CC License

One response to this reality is Mindfulness Meditation. It is being used in both classrooms and at home to reduce stress or improve a child's focus and concentration. Mindfulness brings awareness to the present moment by calmly acknowledging any thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. This technique relies on noticing without passing judgement.    

When explaining this concept to children, you can begin simply. Ask them what they think it means to be mindful. I’m sure they will have a lot of insight. This suggestion comes from MindBodyGreen. You can find their other kid-friendly ideas here

There are an assortment of mindfulness-related texts available for kids, caregivers and educators:

    

Mindful Monkey Happy Panda by Lauren Alderfer / Little Flower Yoga for Kids by Jennifer Cohen Harper  / Sitting Still Like a Frog by Eline Snell / Master of Mindfulness by Laurie M. Grossman

    

Frog's Breathtaking Speech
by Michael Chissick / Planting Seeds:  Practicing Mindfulness with Children by Thích Nhất Hạnh / Teaching Mindfulness Skills to Kids and Teens by Amy Saltzman / The Mindful Parent by Charlotte Peterson / Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance by Christopher McMurray

   

The Mindful Child by Susan Kaiser Greenland / Mindful Discipline by Shauna Shapiro / How to get Kids Offline, Outdoors and Connecting with Nature by Bonnie Thomas / The Whole Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel

Not all helpful texts will have "mindfulness" in the title or subject heading; for example, The Listening Walk by Paul Showers or If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano can be tools for supporting the practice of being present and noticing. Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth and Breathe by Scott Magoon are others.  

TheListeningWalk  

 

What else can you try?  “Spiderman Meditation,” something your superhero fan might enjoy, involves closing your eyes and paying attention to all your senses…your “Spidey Senses.” A calm down or relaxation jar, similar to a snow globe, can be made with craft supplies from around the house.

The following books speak to a variety of daily stresses from a child's perspective. You can speak to children about the mindfulness mindset in reference to these characters or others.

   

Whimsy's Heaving Things by Julie Kraulis / Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes / Franklin and the Thunderstorm by Paulette Bourgeouis / A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret Holmes

  

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn / Don't Think About Purple Elephants by Susan Whelan / Over-Scheduled Andrew by Ashley Spires

Please add any other books or resources in the comments that have helped you understand or appreciate mindfulness.  Namaste.

Little girl levitating above a yoga mat
Photo Credit: Mike Tidd on a CC License 

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