There is an emerging body of research that states children of all ages can benefit from mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique in which one focuses their full attention only on the present. Emphasising experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them. It is the simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment.
Mindfulness can help children improve their ability to pay attention, to make better decisions and will help them to calm down when they are upset. This is of course not just beneficial for children but can help parents and caregivers too!
Here are some simple ideas that can be done at any time to teach children to be more mindful.
This is a great activity to do before nap time and is a very accessible way for children to learn about being present. Have the children lie down on the ground or on their beds at nap time, it can help to close the blinds and turn the lights down to minimise distractions. Ask them to close their eyes and squish and squeeze their toes as tightly as they can and then relax. Go one by one from feet to legs, hips, bellies, hands, face etc. until you have gone through every muscle in the body one by one. To finish do every muscle in the body and then relax for a few minutes.
BREATHING WITH A PINWHEEL
Find or make a pinwheel with the children. It is useful if you have one as well to demonstrate. Sit in a chair or against a wall with your back straight but relaxed.
Blow on your pinwheels together using long deep breaths and notice how you feel. Then try short quick breath, then finish the activity breathing with normal breaths.
Ask the children how different kinds of breathing made them feel?
Hand out a stuffed animal or a small object to each child. Have the children lie down on the floor and place the stuffed animals on their bellies.
Tell them to breathe in silence for one minute and notice how their Breathing Buddy moves up and down, and any other sensations that they notice.
The presence of the Breathing Buddy makes the meditation a little friendlier.
HAVE A DESIGNATED QUIET SPACE
A quiet space is a designated space that children can retreat to when they feel overwhelmed and overloaded by the sensory input from the immediate environment. It gives them time and space to calm their sensory systems and take control of their emotions again.
When setting up a quiet space, choose calming colours, like shades of blue and/or green. Use comfortable furniture like large fluffy cushions and soft blankets to create a calming and cosy atmosphere.
Have the kids jump up and down in place for one minute. Then have them sit back down and place their hands on their hearts. Tell them to close their eyes and feel their heartbeats, their breath, and see what else they notice about their bodies.
A simple mindfulness practice will promote happiness and relieve stress for everyone. Mindfulness can be a useful tool at each developmental stage, promoting happiness and decreasing anxiety.
Here at Studio Play, we provide many different types of ways to create a mindful area for childcare centres. Take a look at some of our backdrops that could be used to create mindfulness areas here.
Who are we
Studio Play is part of the Studio Kids Group. We are a privately owned business with over 20 years’ experience in the clothing industry, supplying major Australian retailers. Originally recognised as & specialising in children’s sleepwear & outerwear, we now create, design & manufacture children’s clothing, fashion apparel, uniforms & childcare resources. Our home is still Melbourne, Australia whereas in life today we think, act & work globally. Sourcing predominantly in China & across Asia, we are represented in offices in Australia, Asia, USA & now UK.