Here at Kids for Kids parents often ask us “how do I teach mindfulness to a young child?”  Well, like many things we do with kids we MUST make it FUN.  Once they are engaged in a fun and a wee bit silly fashion, and you’ve got their attention, you can begin to TEACH.  But remember, mindfulness takes training. The goal is to train our minds to observe our thoughts and feelings without judgement or criticism.  When we practice doing this, it allows us to cut down on habitual, negative thought patterns and prevent downward spirals of negativity.  When this is achieved on a regular basis, our minds and bodies open to resources of peace, contentment, meaning, and well-being

 

One goal of these exercises is to train the mind to purposefully focus attention on a present experience. Have your children tune into all their 5 senses while practicing each exercise.  Taste is a tough one so why not end with jelly bean or small piece of chocolate!  Have them close their eyes and feel it first, listen to what it sounds like near their ear (is it squishy, hard etc…), smell it and lastly taste it!   Each exercise can be tried in the morning after getting ready for the day, before bed, in the car or at the dinner table right before you eat.  Don’t forget to have FUN!

 

Breathe like a bee!

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Cover your ears with

Your thumbs and your

Eyes with your fingers

 

Keep your lips closed and

Teeth slightly apart inside

Your mouth.  Inhale deeply

Through your nose (1-2-3-4)

 

When you inhale, think about

Closing your throat just

Slightly so you can actually

Hear your breath.  REPEAT!

 

Exhale slowly through your

Mouth (1-2-3-4) while making

A low humming sound - like a BEE!

Breathe and repeat!

 

Magnetic Hands!

 

Breathe in deeply through

Your nose (1-2-3-4).

Breathe out fully through

Your mouth (1-2-3-4).

 

Put your hands in front of

Your shoulders width apart and

Palms facing each other.

 

Pretend there is a magnet

That is slowly drawing

Your palms together

 

Bring your palms very, very

Close until they almost touch

Then slowly bring your palms

Back out again

Breathe and repeat!

 

Breathe in a Flower

 

Breathe in deeply through

Your nose (1-2-3-4)

Smell your favorite flower

 

Bring your hands in front of

Your mouth palms facing inward

and breathe out

(1-2-3-4)

 

move your hands slowly

As your exhale out until

Your hands are hands are extended

All the way out.

Keep breathing.  REPEAT

 

We hope your children and you enjoy these fun exercises.   If you’re looking to dive deeper into Mindfulness with children, this is a great book to start with: Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic WorldGOZEN.COM is an excellent online resource.   

For more tips or to share any techniques that work well for you and your children, log on to my website at mindfulkidsforkids.com

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Website: http://mindfulkidsforkids.com


Annette Ferrigno, LCSW is a psychotherapist practicing in Westfield, NJ and the Founder/Owner of Kids for Kids A Mindfulness Movement also located in Westfield.  She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is a trained Play Therapist.  Annette has been working with children, adolescents, families and adults for over 20 years.  Her experience has been rich and varied working in multiple settings including: mental health clinics, foster care, elementary, middle and high schools, and private practice.  She obtained her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Development and Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota and later obtained her graduate degree from New York University.  She is a positive, motivated parent and professional on a mission to make the world a better place!  Wanna join her?  She can be reached at: 

http://mindfulkidsforkids.com or annetteferrignolcsw@icloud.com