Practicing mindfulness at home and in the classroom can be beneficial to children. The simple act of staying in the present moment helps them to self-soothe, focus on the task at hand, and become more confident. As a result, it helps parents, teachers, and caregivers to teach and raise optimistic and calm children. Here are some ideas for easy mindful moments for kids to have a calm minute. They can be practiced at home or in the classroom.
Breathing is the simplest and most accessible way to begin teaching kids to meditate. These exercises teach children that they don’t need an external source to stay mindful. The two breathing exercises below are some of my students’ favorite mindfulness activities:
- Ask the children to sit in their most comfortable seated position.
- Guide them to spread their fingers wide and bring their wrists, thumbs, and pinky fingers together, forming a flower with their hands.
- Let them inhale through their nose as if they are smelling the flower and exhale by blowing the flower slowly.
It may help children to practice the flower breath if you include imagery that they are in a garden.
To practice the unicorn breath:
- Let the kids come into a quadruped position with their hands and knees on the floor.
- Then, invite the students to bring their left pointer finger on their forehead, as if they have a unicorn horn.
- Guide the children to inhale and shoot their horns up with a “woo!” sound as they exhale.
Doing yoga poses encourages children to be mindful of their bodies. By asking them to pose, they will be aware of their physical body. Start with simple yoga poses that kids can easily do, such as these poses below.
Airplane Pose/Warrior 3
Surfer Pose/Warrior 2
Channeling children’s favorite superheroes is a great way to encourage mindful moments for kids. Spidey Senses is an activity that will encourage children to channel their inner Spiderman, take a pause, and notice their surroundings. It is helpful if you give them cues that will trigger their senses.
For example, ask the students to describe three sounds they can hear inside the room or three objects they can see from a particular picture. Alternatively, you can ask students to find something based on the description you give, such as something blue, warm to touch, round, and spiky.
A body scan can help children be aware of the different parts of their bodies. It also helps them to tense and relax the body.
To do a body scan:
- Ask the children to lay down on their backs and close their eyes. Allow them to relax with their legs, arms, and the other parts of the body.
- Then invite them to take a few rounds of deep breaths. After this, ask them to bring their attention to each body part. You can start from the tips of their toes.
- Next, guide them to tense their muscles by clenching them and eventually relaxing them. The body scan is a great way to encourage relaxation and sleep.
Snacks – Who doesn’t love that? You can incorporate snacking into your child’s mindfulness activity by teaching them about mindful eating. It’s an effective strategy to encourage them to be more grateful for their food and avoid wasting it. It also helps in preventing overeating, as well as eating too quickly.
Ask your child or student to get their favorite snack to practice mindful eating to do the mindful eating activity. Then guide the child to notice each characteristic of the snack, i.e., texture, smell, color, and temperature, before eating it. In addition, you may also teach them to give gratitude to the people who produced the food. Then, let them eat their food while noticing the sensations inside their mouth.
Mindfulness can be applied to almost any activity. Therefore, mindfulness activities for children are endless. Can you come up with your own mindful moments for kids?