Often when people think about mindfulness there is a mental image of people sitting on pillows and being very still for a long period of time. That can be a difficult image to match with children, especially children who have a hard time self-regulating. For children and adolescents, mindfulness holds the extra benefit of encouraging them to be in touch with their emotions before they act on them. This is something that as parents, teachers, community members, we all hope that children learn: To think before you act. But yes, mindfulness takes on a different shape when we are talking about young children. They often need something extra to concentrate on or they may need to move. Books, like Moody Cow Meditates, or objects like lava lamps can help children learn to pay attention to their bodies, their breathing, and their emotions. These are also great activities to do as a family. Participating in these activities together sends the message that we all want to slow down, that feelings aren’t secrets, and that adults are “big enough and kind enough” to be with children as they figure out emotions.
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