So, we have all heard of mindfulness.
Some of us may have delved in, practiced a bit, or a lot. Some of us may think it’s nonsense or are unsure what it even entails.
Whatever we believe or know Mindfulness is big news right now, and it can have a profoundly positive effect on preschoolers.
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
It is used as a therapeutic technique.
We all know that feeling of having driven somewhere and then we can’t really remember how we did that, our mind was wandering over other things and events other than the actual act of driving.
Or in the shower and you are thinking of what to make for dinner, what needs to be done tomorrow, booking an appointment and every other little thing on our to do list.
Mindfulness is about taking a moment to actually be present right now in what is happening and how our body feels - feel the hot water on your hair and back, see the steam rising up, listen to the noise of the shower, breath!
Young children don’t tend to lose focus like adults do, they are generally far more present in the moment, so mindfulness means something a little different to young children.
It can help them learn to focus in ways that will benefit them in later life and help to positively regulate emotion right now.
It is particularly beneficial for children who lack attention skills - it helps them to be present and focus quietly without distraction.
Teaching mindfulness to children and adolescents is a growing trend, and we are slowly beginning to see the benefits, particularly for children that are anxious or have attention issues.
Introducing Mindfulness to preschoolers needs to be done simply and quietly without a lot of explanation - they won’t “get” the meanings or reasoning behind it.
Mindfulness can help:
Improve mental health and well being
Increase self awareness
Improve social skills
Help resolve anxiety
Help calm impulsivity
Help regulate emotions
Develop a positive outlook
There are lots of ways to introduce very small moments of mindfulness into your classroom/space.
We can foster mindfulness through small tools such as pictures, objects, food, pebbles, soft toys, beanbags, simple movements and music or sounds.
We are all aware of how positively reacting to a child’s bad behaviour can help them in more ways than traditional time outs or negative words.
We can also use Mindfulness in some situations to help a child calm down and change focus and practice regulating their emotions instead of lashing out.
We can have a ‘Time In’ instead of a ‘Time Out’.
When a child is acting out or behaving badly lead them away from the situation, explain which behaviour was inappropriate and how it affects others.
Offer the box of mindful cards to the child and ask them to select one.
Find a quiet (ish!) place for you and the child and follow the Mindful moment together.
This one to one attention helps focuses on something positive and takes focus away from the stressful situation, bad behaviour and negative emotions.
Experience the joy of just being. Stop. Breath. Be.
We have produced a simple pack of 17 Mindful Moment cards which you can keep handy and pull out at circle time/small group time.
Download the Mindful Moment Cards, print them out and laminate them for durability.
Place them in a nice box and put in a prominent position in your room so they are ready to be used during group time.
Children can take turns pulling out a Mindful Moment card each day and then the group takes a Mindful Moment together
The cards can of course be used individually with one child for a moment of calm, to help a child focus, regulate emotions and reduce anxiety.
I have included a mantra at the end of each mindful exercise, say it together with your group, or you can come up with your own positive, affirming mantra if you like!
You will probably find that some of the exercises work better with your particular group and they tune into them easier than others, that’s fine.
The important thing is that mindful exercises become a regular part of your morning and so the children will slowly begin to feel the benefit or self awareness.
These cards can also be used by parents, carers, teachers or anyone who wishes to introduce some calm moments into their child’s life!
Download The Mindful Moments cards HERE today.
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