As you know there are many ways to practice mindfulness. You can be mindful of what is happening on the inside of your body. This includes noticing your breath, heartbeat, thoughts, and how you feel. You can also be mindful of what is happening on the outside of your body such as what you hear, smell, see, taste and feel. At Mindful Child we explore mindfulness on the inside and outside in all of our classes in many different ways.
Here are three simple ways to explore mindfulness:
Feel your breath. One of the most powerful mindfulness
tools is our breath. Our bodies can
breathe in lots of different ways and how we breathe can affect how we feel. Closing your eyes and noticing how you are
breathing can tell you how you are feeling in your body.
Engage your senses. Take a walk through your house. While you are
walking pay attention to your five senses (touch, sight, taste, smell, and
hearing). Notice the sounds you hear. Can
you hear three different sounds? Take a deep breath, what do you smell? Can you
find all the colors of the rainbow? Touch a few objects. What do you notice?
Scan it. A
body scan can help you become aware of what is happening in your body and
release stress. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in. Let it out.
Imagine a scanner is slowly moving up your body. Let your body feel heavy and relaxed as the
scanner moves gently over your body. Open your eyes. What did the scanner notice?
Science tells us the more we explore mindfulness the more calming brain chemicals our body makes. Try different activities to determine which engage your child. Need more ideas? Join us for our Mindful Child Teacher Training this summer.
Squishing, rolling, pulling, creating… children of all ages enjoy playing with playDough. In addition to being fun, PlayDough has multiple developmental benefits. Our homemade dough feels and smells amazing – making it a simple and natural stress relieving mindfulness tool.
What are the benefits?
Squishing and pulling PlayDough can increase fine motor skills. It strengthens the muscles in the fingers that are needed to climb an aerial hammock or hold a pencil at school. Manipulating PlayDough helps children develop hand-eye coordination. Rolling and pressing PlayDough into cookie cutters provides deep pressure to the joints, which enhances one of our hidden senses called proprioception.
How to Make Amazing Dough.
To start, add the flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl.
Stir with an electric mixer.
Combine the essential oil of choice with the vegetable oil and mix into the dry ingredients.
Bring your water to a boil. Add any food coloring to the boiling water.
While stirring with an electric mixer, slowly add the water to the dry ingredients.
Continue to mix until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Next, shake in a little glitter, but not too much or it won’t stick together.
Knead the dough until smooth.
Store your dough in an air-tight container.
At Mindful Child, we make mindfulness and social emotional learning fun. We’d love to have your child hang out with us in a camp or class
Feeling a little unsettled, stressed, or upset? Grab your mindfulness bottle, give it a shake, and take deep breaths until the glitter settles. Mindfulness bottles are a wonderful addition to any mindfulness space.
Settle Your Glitter is a mindfulness activity that uses a bottle filled with glitter to help children center and relax. Children love to make their own bottle and choose their own colors of glitter.
Fill a clear plastic bottle with hot water, a tablespoon of glycerin, and a drop of liquid dish soap. Have your child choose three different colors of glitter. Pick one color to represent feelings, one to represent thoughts, and one to represent behavior. Sprinkle each color into the plastic bottle using a funnel.
Benefits of a Mindfulness Bottle
A mindfulness bottle is a fun visual prop to teach children how deep breathing can calm the body and the mind. The mindfulness bottle gives children a tool to calm down and focus their minds (settle their glitter) before they make a decision.
What to Say
We’re going to make mindfulness bottles. The glitter represents our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. When we are upset, nervous, or mad, our glitter is unsettled. What can you do to settle your glitter?
Start by finding a comfortable position.
Let’s go one by one, sharing an event that was difficult for some reason (such as giving a speech in front of your class, losing a sports game, watching a scary movie).
Shake the glitter bottle. When you are upset, your thoughts are chaotic, which means your feelings and urges are out of control, just like the glitter.
Set the bottle in front of you. Take ten deep breaths in and out through the nose. Feel the belly rise on the inhale and fall on the exhale.
Do your best to focus your attention on your breath. While you breathe, watch the glitter float down and settle on the bottom of the jar, just like our thoughts. Take a moment each day to practice settling your glitter.
Come Hang Out with Us!
If your child enjoys art, hanging upside, climbing and mindfulness. Join us for a kid’s aerial yoga class or camp! We practice settling our glitter and other evidence-backed ways to feel calm in every session.
Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, but creating a mindful “chill-ax” space at home may increase the benefits.
Even though mindfulness is easily practiced anywhere and at anytime, the benefits may be enhanced by designating a place where your child can “chill-ax” or take a brain break. The space doesn’t need to be large – just offer enough room for your child to be able to sit or lie down.
Here are few helpful tips when setting up your child’s chill-ax space:
Lighting. Light is important to learning and behavior. It helps regulate mood and affects cognitive performance. Indirect sunlight is best for learning and relaxing; open the blinds and let the light shine in. But not too much, dimly lit areas are best for chill-axing. If you don’t have a room with natural light, try using a fiber optic lamp. At Mindful Child, we love our LIFX smart bulbs in our overhead lights. We can easily dim them or change colors creating a relaxing vibe.
Essential Oils. Unpleasant odors make it difficult to relax. Essential oils can boost your child’s mood and create a relaxing spa-like atmosphere. An easy way to use oils in is by using an essential oil diffuser which will disperse oils throughout the room. You can also buy inhaler sticks and place them on a shelf with your child’s favorite calming scents. At Mindful Child, we only use therapeutic grade Young Living essential oils. Our favorites are Peace and Calming, Stress Away, and Lavender.
Cleanliness. Reduce clutter and keep the space organized. Too many choices tends to overwhelm and distract children. Having a limited choice of organized mindfulness tools will promote relaxation.
Comfort. Being comfortable is an important component of relaxation. Bean bags such as Targets sensory friendly Cocoon Seat are perfect for breathing and practicing mindfulness.
Small Space. Children enjoy small enclosed spaces. It helps them feel safe and reduces visual stimulation. A Teepee or space created with the Nugget (original play couch) is perfect for mellowing out and finding inner peace, tranquility and calm.
Your child can learn lots of evidence-based ways to practice mindfulness by joining us for an aerial yoga camp or class. We infuse every activity with movement, breath and mindfulness.
This holiday season shop thoughtfully and locally – give the
gift of mindfulness!
Holiday shopping can be stressful—especially if you don’t plan ahead. But the holiday season does not have to put such a heavy strain on your wallet and schedule. Consider these gift ideas this year — gifts that encourage mindfulness, promote relaxation and will have a positive impact on the your child’s well-being.
Here are a few handpicked gift ideas:
Mindful Gift Pick #1 – Mindful Child Aerial Yoga Hammock. Who doesn’t love hanging upside down? Our studio grade (this means they are high quality) hammocks are perfect Christmas gifts. They are safety rated and come in a variety of colors.
Mindful Gift Pick #2 – Meddy Teddy. Best yoga mate to your kids. A playful way to get little ones into yoga and meditation. Meddy Teddy is a pose able bear who knows 100’s of Yoga poses.
Mindful Gift Pick #3 – Winter Aerial Yoga Camp. We’ve added a mini camp over Christmas break. Three fun filled days of spinning, climbing and hanging upside down. Camp meets for two hours daily.
Mindful Gift Pick #4 – Late Winter Aerial Yoga Session. Our new session is online and ready for sign-up. Best of all the price is discounted until December 4th!
Mindful Gift Pick #5 – Essential Oil Roll-ons. Young Living has an excellent selection of roll-ons that make perfect stocking stuffers. My personal favorites are Tranquil and Valor.
Mindful Gift Pick #6 – A Journal. Science tells us listing three things you are grateful for daily can make you happier and healthier. Big Life Journal has wonderful journals for all ages.
Mindful Gift Pick #7 – A Buddha Board. Write down your worries with a bamboo brush and watch them slowly evaporate while you take deep breaths.
These gifts are meant to inspire healthy living, allowing you to empower your little ones to learn healthy habits for life. What better gift to give this holiday season?
This breathing technique is referred to as “three-part breath” because of how the breath enters the abdomen, diaphragm, and chest. Children often breathe with only the top portion of their lungs, which means they are missing out on the benefits of using their entire lungs to breathe. Breathing in and out at full capacity provides a sense of balance and calm.
In aerial yoga, Elevator Breath pairs well with Fish Pose and Mermaid Pose. However, it can be done in a seat position such as Bucket Seat Pose as well.
What are the Benefits?
Elevator Breath increases children’s awareness of their breath. Placing hands on the belly, helps kids to bring their breath all the way to their abdomen. It activates the brain’s relaxation system, which sends an instant calm feeling throughout the body. Placing the hands on the belly and heart allows children to feel their breath, which helps with focus, stress-relief and mindfulness.
What to Say.
Lay on your back, place one hand on the heart and one hand on the belly.
Notice your breath and your heartbeat. Is it fast, medium, or slow?
Take a deep breath in through your nose. Feel your belly, rib cage, and the heart center rise beneath your hands.
As you breathe out, feel your belly, rib cage, and heart center fall. Do you feel the elevator going up and down with each breath?
Start to make your elevator go even slower by making your breath slower.
Repeat nine times. Notice your breath and heartbeat. Have they changed?
Elevator Breath is one of the breathing techniques we use in our aerial yoga classes. Mindful breathing can help children become more aware of their feelings, this awareness helps them to manage big emotions.
Mindfulness is paying attention with our senses, with kindness. Meddy Mindfulness requires your child’s full attention. Each child will mindfully focus on Meddy Teddy, a pose-able yoga teddy bear. Focusing on Meddy Teddy is fun and engaging, which helps children to slow down and focus on the present moment.
What are the Benefits?
Meddy Teddy Mindfulness enhances mindful awareness and is calming. When practiced regularly, mindfulness can improve attention, cognition, emotions, and behavior.
What to Say.
Mindfulness is focusing on what is happening, right now, with our five senses – seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting.
Meddy Mindfulness helps you pay attention to your senses so you can feel focused and relaxed.
Place Meddy is front of you in Easy Seated Pose.
Start by noticing what Meddy looks like. What color is he? Are his eyes open or closed?
Next, put Meddy on your lap. Is he soft or hard? Warm or cold? What else do you notice about how Meddy feels?
Bring Meddy up by your nose. Take in a big breath. What do you smell?
Place Meddy in your favorite yoga pose. As you adjust him, listen very mindfully. Does he make a sound? Do your favorite pose with him. Notice what you hear.
We are going to skip taste since Meddy is not food. Instead let’s use our mindfulness detective skills and see if we can notice one thing about Meddy we haven’t notice before.
What did you notice?
Want to learn more ways to be mindful with Meddy Teddy? Sign up for a aerial yoga class or our online kid’s yoga teacher training! Module Three has Meddy Teddy breathing exercises, cards and games!
You might think Instagram serves as simply a playground to waste time scrolling through pretty pictures, but did you know that there are some excellent educational accounts you can follow to get your daily dose of fun, plus learn some great factual knowledge?
Here are some of our favorite picks for wholesome, educational content related to children:
MeddyTeddy. Meddy Teddy is a mindful teddy bear who does yoga. This account posts uplifting quotes, yoga poses and mindfulness related content. It is super cute and kids love Meddy.
TheMovementMama. The MovementMama instagram account is run by Kailee, a pediatric physical therapist at Lee Ann Britain Development Center (they hire really good therapists). Kailee’s account empowers parents through play-based movement. This account focuses on infants and toddlers and provides great educational content to parents.
SesameStreet. Its mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger, kinder – in more than 150 countries around the world! What more could a parent ask for?
EmilyPriceWellness. Emily is a yoga teacher and wellness professional. She posts a variety of wonderful content related to self-care and wellness. She emphasizes a healthy lifestyle through movement, food and all things health related.
Mindful Child Mindful Child Aerial Yoga also has an instagram account, we focus on movement, breath, and mindfulness for children. Our mission is to provide brain-based interventions that are fun for the whole family.
In summary, Instagram is more than just pretty pictures, hashtags, and videos. It has a variety of educational accounts for parents to follow to help with a home therapy program, brain breaks, or family time. Best of all it is free.
With the stress and uncertainty in the world today mindfulness resources are needed more than ever. Numerous studies have demonstrated the positive effects of mediation and mindfulness on physical and psychological health. Mindfulness can help your child develop an inner calm and happiness. Even though using an app to be mindful seems contrary to yoga and mindfulness, desperate times require desperate measures. The coronavirus has closed avenues to yoga and mindfulness in person and left us in a world of social distancing, requiring us to step out of our comfort zones and try new ways to practice mindfulness. Here are a few of my favorite mindfulness apps:
Smiling Minds. This FREE app was developed by psychologists and educators and has mindfulness programs from age seven to adults.
Headspace. The Headspace app teaches meditation and mindfulness in just a few minutes a day. It offers breathing techniques, visualization, and special programs for kids.
Stop, Breathe, & Think. This friendly app was made to guide people of all ages through meditations on mindfulness and compassion. It even has features designed specifically for kids.
Breathe, Think, Do, with Sesame. Sesame Street is a wonderful resource for not only mindfulness, but growth mindset as well. Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame is a research-based app that helps your child learn Sesame’s strategy for problem-solving to teach his monster friend to take deep breaths!
According to science, yoga has a multitude of health and mood benefits. The benefits of yoga are boosted if you pair it with mindfulness. If you want to add a little movement to your child’s mindfulness practice, there are several places to practice yoga online. For the next few weeks, online yoga may be the only option. Here are a few of my favorite online yoga resources for families.
Cosmic Kids. Cosmic Kids offers free online adventures for kids. The Cosmic Kids website has lesson plans and guided meditation scripts that are reasonably priced. There is even a free Cosmic Kids lesson plan sample!
Yoga Ed. Yoga Ed teaches the basics of yoga and mindfulness through breathing exercises, yoga poses, games, visualizations, and relaxation activities. They have different yoga themes and age ranges to choose from, making this an easy way for kids to have a yoga and mindfulness practice at home.
Yoga and mindfulness are powerful ways to calm down kids and sharpen their minds. Even though times may be scary and unprecedented, remember to engage in self-care and model healthy lifestyle choices. Children learn by example…
The ancient yogi’s thought we had monkey minds, with our thoughts randomly jumping from branch to branch. But they also recognized that even the wildest little monkeys can be mindful too. Monkey Mindfulness allows children to act like monkeys and then use the calming power of their breath slow down.
What are the benefits?
Monkey bites are a healthy, fun snack for children. Bananas are full of potassium. Peanut butter has protein and healthy fats, making this a great snack for little growing bodies. Introducing a little chaos and then using the breath to calm the mind teaches children to self-regulate.
What to say.
We are going to pretend to be monkeys. Monkeys jump from branch to branch just like our thoughts sometimes do.
Stand up and jump across the room just like monkeys. Let’s hop on one foot, now the other foot. Wow, you were fantastic monkeys.
How can we calm our monkey minds? Right, with our breath! Sit in Easy Seated Pose and take ten big balloon breaths.
Mindfully eat some monkey bites. Look carefully at your banana. What do you see? Smell? What do you taste?
Now we are going to add something to dip our bananas in. I’m going to put a little powered peanut butter on your plate.
Using your mindfulness skills, be a food detective and notice how the peanut butter changed your banana.
Take a bite dipped in peanut butter. What do you see, smell, and taste?
How did it taste different from the first bite without the peanut butter?
Want your child to learn more ways to be mindful? Sign up for a camp or class!
Teaching fun, therapeutic, aerial yoga and mindfulness to children