Mindfulness for kids is a trendy topic these days but oh so important. The idea that adults can nurture a life skill – like teaching mindfulness – to help kids relax their bodies, to be conscious of their relationship to the world, to breathe through painful emotions, to be present, to be emotionally intelligent, in other words, to be mindful, is compelling.
Think about it.
Teaching a child mindfulness activities such as breathing through anxiety, frustration, anger, and many other emotions will help him be a better communicator and, in the end, a happier person. And how lucky are we? We have ample resources and research supporting the fundamental fact that meditation is good for our bodies. I’ve listed several resources at the bottom of this post to explore.
The research is that mediation helps focus, communication, social skills, conflict resolution, and mental health. There is nothing to lose in finding ways to bring meditation and mindfulness into your daily life.
This post covers mindfulness for kids’ ideas and resources, including guided meditations for kids, mindfulness youtube videos, mind games for kids, how to teach mindfulness in the classroom, and mindfulness activities for kids. I am so excited! So, let’s dive in!
What is mindfulness for kids?
In my experience, mindfulness is awareness of your body within the environment. If you want a more concrete definition, the Oxford Dictionary includes this definition:
the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.“their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
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, used as a therapeutic technique.
So to put it in simple terms, mindfulness brings attention to the present moment. How does your body feel? What is around you, and how is it impacting your body? What does a deep breath do for your mental state?
How to Begin with Kids?
Honestly, at the essence, mindfulness must apply to each person as he or she feels. There is no “universal” definition of the concept.
That said, ensuring kids understand what mindfulness is to them individually is key to the process. You want kids to naturally begin to practice without forcing them. One powerful way to get buy-in is to explain the concept to them.
Oh, and one more thing, practice meditation yourself. Be a model for the kids in your life!
How can you make meditation fun for kids?
We don’t have to be Zen Buddhists to bring this “education of the heart” into our homes and classrooms. And we can make it fun in tons of ways. Below are activities to get you started.
Guided Meditations for Kids
I am excited to share with you loads of guided meditations for kids. Most of you have heard of Headspace for Kids, a phenomenal resource I highly recommend. However, there are other incredible tools to help kids with guided meditations.
Here are a few additional resources for you:
- Hot Air Balloon Ride: A Guided Meditation for Kids
- Guided Meditation for Children | Your Magical Island
- Sleep Meditation for Children
Below you will find many mindfulness videos on Youtube to help you get started on doing meditation with kids.
Mindfulness Videos for Kids on YouTube
Just Breathe – Super Powerful
3 Minute Body Scan
Beautiful. I often put it on in the background to help my boys transition throughout the day.
Sailing Breathing Meditation
I love it when my kids will sit and listen to this meditation. It is a good one!
If a child is by nature anxious or is having a difficult day, this music will calm him.
Morning Relaxing Music
Hot Air Balloon Ride: A Guided Meditation for Kids
Guided Meditation for Children | Your Magical Island
Sleep Meditation for Children
Ideas to Teach Meditation & Mindfulness to Kids
Mindfulness Activities for Kids
Here are a few ways of teaching mindfulness to kids can be part of your everyday life with children at home and in the classroom:
#1 – Books on Being Mindful
The perfect way to introduce these concepts to a child. Begin and end each day together by reading one of these books.
#2 – Create a Peace Corner
Create stillness in your environment by creating a peaceful corner. This area can be a place where your child retreats when he is feeling stressed or upset and can be a place where conflict resolution takes place. Create it near natural light, add a plant, and possibly a peace rose.
#3 – Practice Yoga Together
The ABCs of Yoga for Kids Learning Cards are an ideal home and classroom tool.
#4 – Read A Pebble for Your Pocket
Go on a “mission” to find that pebble or stone for your child to carry with him.
#5 – Practice Mindful Eating
Grab a snack.
Before eating the snack, let’s say an apple, pause together with your child.
Then say out loud: “This is an apple. It grew from a seed into a tree.”
“This apple was picked from a tree. The color is red. It is sweet and delicious.”
Cut the apple open: “These are the seeds.” The point is to be more present with your eating, to appreciate food in all its goodness and that, like us, it is nothing short of a miracle.
#6 – Plant a Garden or Grow a Plant from a Seed
Touch the earth by planting a garden with your children. Simply go on a walk and get your hands dirty or feel the grass. The book Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children is an excellent metaphor and accompaniment to this exercise.
#7 – Practice deep breathing exercises
It is crucial to practice daily, and deep breathing exercises are a somewhat easy way to achieve this goal. A few great resources include My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing, Alphabreaths: The ABCs of Mindful Breathing, and Breathing Exercises for Kids [FREE].
#8 – Integrate Guided Meditations into Your Day
Check out Sitting Like a Frog from Shambhala Publications. This book engages kids, and they find it relatable. The website for the book is also a fabulous resource.
According to its website “Sitting Like a Frog” includes “simple mindfulness practices to help your child (ages 5-12) deal with anxiety, improve concentration, and handle difficult emotions.”
#9 – Bring Mindfulness into the Classroom
I included loads of ideas for teachers in this post, but you can also bring these activities into your home. This resource for bringing mindfulness into the classroom will help you. Ideas include making glitter jars, Montessori’s silence activity, and yoga sessions.
#10 – Mindfulness Activities for Your Family
Learn the mindfulness techniques I put in my back pocket after attending a Mindful Family Retreat
#11 – Explore Headspace for Kids
You don’t have to stop with the guided meditations I included in this post. Some of my favorites are on Headspace, and many free guided meditations are available online.
Help Teach Mindfulness Activities to Kids
Mindful Parenting Magazine
Mindful Parenting Magazine is such a cool resource for families.
A must-have for any classroom peace corner or home stillness area!
Big Life Journal
THE mindful resources for kids. They offer journals, printables, ebooks, and so on.
Mini Zen Garden
Children’s Books to Teach Mindfulness
The Mindful Child
Mindful Games Book
Mindful Games Cards
Sitting Still Like a Frog
Growing Up Mindful by Chris Willard
- Mindfulness in the Age of Complexity
- Interview with Susan Kaiser Greenland about Teaching Mindfulness to Kids
- Positive Psychology
- Anxiety in Kids – What Parents Need to Know & How to Help