Mindfulness Meditation for Kids
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!
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:
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.
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.
Please add any other books or resources in the comments that have helped you understand or appreciate mindfulness. Namaste.