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 breath through painful emotions, to be present, to be emotionally intelligent, in other words, to be mindful, is incredibly powerful.
Think about it.
Teaching a child to breathe through anxiety, frustration, anger and many other emotions will help him be a better communicator and in the end a happier person.
“My hope and wish is that one day, formal education will pay attention to what I call education of the heart. Just as we take for granted the need to acquire proficiency in the basic academic subjects, I am hopeful that a time will come when we can take it for granted that children will learn, as part of the curriculum, the indispensability of inner values: love, compassion, justice, and forgiveness.”
– Dalai Lama
Slowing Down as a Family Has to Happen
We don't have to be Zen Buddhists to bring this “education of the heart” into our homes and classrooms.
8 Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Kids
Here are a few ways how teaching mindfulness to kids can be part of your everyday life with children at home and in the classroom:
- Begin and end each day together by reading one of these books on being mindful with your child
- Create stillness in your environment by creating a peace corner
- Practice yoga together. The ABCs of Yoga for Kids Learning Cards are an excellent home and classroom tool.
- Read A Pebble for Your Pocket. Go on a “mission” to find that pebble or stone for your child to carry with him.
- Before eating a snack, let's say an apple, pause together with you child and say out loud: “This is an apple. It grew from a seed into a tree. It was picked from a tree. It is red. It is sweet. It is delicious,” or something like those words. 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 the fact that, like us, it is nothing short of a miracle. Check out this mindfulness exercise for kids for one idea.
- Touch the earth by planting a garden with your children, simply go on a walk and get your hands dirty or feel the grass
- Practice deep breathing exercises
- Check out Sitting Like a Frog from Shambhala Publications. The website for the book is a fabulous resource.
Resources to Help Teach Mindfulness to Kids