Chances are, we have heard of mindfulness before (and maybe already practice it!), but did you know about the incredible benefits it can have on kids?
What is mindfulness?
The most widely used definition of mindfulness is the act of paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgement. It is coming back from our “wandering mind” to be in what is happening right now, with kindness and curiosity.
Why practice mindfulness?
Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or student, incorporating mindfulness practices into your daily routine can have a positive impact on mental and even physical health. Especially in challenging or stressful times, practicing mindfulness can help to understand feelings that arise and help to regulate and navigate tough emotions.
Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness can increase emotional and cognitive control as well as lower anxiety, stress, and depression. In the classroom, it can help kids to focus longer and act with kindness, empathy and intention. Incorporating a mindfulness practice into the classroom can also help kids to settle their thoughts, get ready to learn and strengthen neural pathways and networks in the brain!
How can I incorporate mindfulness into a daily routine?
To get the most out of practicing mindfulness, it is important to incorporate it as often as you can! All you need is a few uninterrupted minutes at a time.
Need some help on where to start? Try out some tips below to bring mindfulness into your day with the children in your life or even by yourself- everybody deserves to take a few minutes to slow down!
It can be easy to get caught up in feelings that arise in the moment. A great way thing to bring yourself back is with a gratitude journal!
Prompt your kids (or yourself) to start a gratitude journal and set aside five minutes at the beginning of their school day to write down as many reasons to be grateful as they can think of.
You can use these prompts if you get stuck:
- Something nice that someone did for you.
- An activity that you are excited to do.
- The best thing that happened to you this week.
- An item that you love.
- Something that made you smile this week.
- Something you are looking forward to.
- Someone that you like to spend time with.
- A reason you feel proud of yourself.
This mindfulness practice can be as quick as you need it to be and can help to calm heightened feelings, and tension that you may be holding in your body:
- Get comfortable either sitting or laying on your back and relax your body.
- Close your eyes if you find it comfortable.
- Begin to quiet your thoughts and mind.
- Start to slow your breathing and focus on each breath.
- Starting at your toes, begin to notice each part of your body and how it feels.
- If your mind starts to wander, this is normal. Notice and acknowledge the thoughts and kindly shift your focus back to the present moment and your breath.
- Slowly move up your body, noticing how you feel, until you reach your head.
- Take a few final moments to breathe and notice how you feel.
- Slowly open your eyes and move mindfully into the rest of your day.
Brain 1st Mindfulness Program Video
Sign up for our 7 day free trial to let Belle and Tex lead you through a short mindfulness practice. These practices will help you focus on the present moment and noticing the thoughts and feelings that arise.
We hope that these resources can help you and the children in your lives integrate mindfulness practices into your daily routine! For more mindfulness resources, sign up for a free trial of the Brain 1st program to have access to 40 guided mindfulness videos and more!
Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Oberle, E., Lawlor, M. S., Abbott, D., Thomson, K., Oberlander, T. F., & Diamond, A. (2015). Enhancing cognitive and social-emotional development through a simple-to-administer mindfulness-based school program for elementary school children: a randomized controlled trial. Developmental psychology, 51(1), 52–66. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0038454
Yoo, Y. G., Lee, D. J., Lee, I. S., Shin, N., Park, J. Y., Yoon, M. R., & Yu, B. (2016). The Effects of Mind Subtraction Meditation on Depression, Social Anxiety, Aggression, and Salivary Cortisol Levels of Elementary School Children in South Korea. Journal of pediatric nursing, 31(3), e185–e197.