One easy way for children to dip their toes into mindfulness is through body poses. Doing fun poses can help them feel strong, brave, and happy.
Go somewhere quiet and familiar, a place they feel safe. Try one of the following poses:
Think how you feel after a few rounds of trying either of these poses. You may be surprised.
This is a classic mindfulness exercise and encourages observation and curiosity—great skills for any human to practice.
While on the subject of superheroes, this can be a related “next step” to learn how to stay present.
Turn-on your “Spidey senses,” or the super-focused senses of smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch that Spiderman uses to keep tabs on the world around him. Pause and focus your attention on the present, opening your awareness to the information your senses bring in.
This activity can teach you how strong emotions can take hold, and how to find peace when these strong emotions feel overwhelming.
“Imagine that the glitter is like your thoughts when you’re stressed, mad or upset. See how they whirl around and make it really hard to see clearly? That’s why it’s so easy to make silly decisions when you’re upset – because you’re not thinking clearly. Don’t worry this is normal and it happens in all of us (yep, grownups too).
Now put the jar down in front of you.
Now watch what happens when you’re still for a couple of moments. Keep watching. See how the glitter starts to settle and the water clears? Your mind works the same way. When you’re calm for a little while, your thoughts start to settle and you start to see things much clearer. Deep breaths during this calming process can help us settle when we feel a lot of emotions”.
This exercise not only helps children learn about how their emotions can cloud their thoughts, but it also facilitates the practice of mindfulness while focusing on the swirling glitter in the jar.
Try to focus on one emotion at a time, such as anger, and think how the shaken verse settling glitter is like that emotion.
The Safari exercise is a great way to learn mindfulness. This activity turns an average, everyday walk into an exciting new adventure.
Go with your family on a safari: you goal is to notice as many birds, bugs, creepy-crawlies, and any other animals as you can. Anything that walks, crawls, swims, or flies is of interest, and you'll need to focus all of your senses to find them, especially the little ones.
This exercise provokes the same response in children that a mindful walk elicits in adults: a state of awareness and grounding in the present.