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.
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.
Happy stamp is a simple visual scanning game. Google emojis on your computer. Lots of images will come up. Pick an image with multiple emojis and print it. Emoji stickers are also available on Amazon. Put the stickers on a blank piece of paper or card stock and make copies of it. Then give your child a bingo stamper and ask them to find happy emojis.
What are the Benefits?
Happy stamp improves visual discrimination. Children must be mindful or they may stamp the wrong emotion. It also improves fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination.
What to Say
We are going to find all the happy emojis on this page. When you see a happy emoji we are going to stamp it. Remember we are only stamping the happy ones!
A variation of this game for older children is to color all the O’s on a newspaper page or poke holes with a toothpick through the O’s.
Windmills strengthen and tone the entire body, making them a popular warm- up exercise in physical education, yoga, and martial arts. Windmills are also good for improving brain power. Moving opposite limbs across the body engages the brain and integrates brain hemispheres.
What are the Benefits?
Windmills stretch your arms, shoulders, core and lower back. Windmills are also a core exercise as you use your core muscles to twist and return to an upright position.
Cognitively, windmills strengthen the brain. Windmills require your child to cross midline, which refers to being able to reach across the body with arms or legs. Midline is an imaginary line down the center of your body. Being able to cross midline is an important developmental skill that is linked to reading and writing.
What to Say.
Stand up tall in Mountain Pose with your feet apart.
Take a deep breath in. Stand up taller.
As you breathe out, bend over and touch your right foot with the left hand.
Breathe in as you stand up.
Time to switch sides. Keep going!
Windmills are a fun and easy brain break. They can be done almost anywhere and best of all they are building brain power! Want more easy ways to build your child’s brain? Join us for an aerial yoga class or read Mindfulness for Children.
Teaching fun, therapeutic, aerial yoga and mindfulness to children