Once children reach preschool age, you may be able to incorporate more intentional activities that teach and reinforce the practice of mindfulness.
- Use visualization as a teaching tool. Encourage children to imagine their bodies are a balloons and the task is to fill the balloons with as much air as possible. There are many examples of mindfulness activities that you can use here.
- Share your emotions and body sensations with the children Describe how you experience feelings of calm, frustration, excitement, sadness, etc. You may decide to go as far as talking about how those sensations determine your behaviors. For example, “Sometimes, when I am feeling angry, it feels like my body is a big purple storm cloud. When I feel like that, I don’t always want to talk to people, and I sometimes I say things that are not nice.”
- Conduct quick check-ins throughout the day, privately, with each child. Ask them to close their eyes, take a breath, and identify how they are currently feeling. To help children, provide images of a calm creek flowing through the forest and a storm sea. Change these pictures often so that children have an opportunity to find images that relate to them.
- Reassure children that it is OK to experience the feelings that they have. Do not shame children or try to hurry them through their feelings. This invalidates their emotions and will make them less willing to share with you. Acknowledge feelings, and teach children ways to take a break, calm down, and reenter play. Too often, we are not even aware of the feelings we are experiencing and how they impact our behaviors and decisions. We want to teach children to get in touch with their emotions as a tool that will help them manage emotions and develop self-regulation.
- As children become more familiar with mindfulness, attempt to make connections to real-life scenarios. For example, if a child is excited on the playground or angry in the block center, ask the child to take a deep breath and tune into the sensations that are occurring in the body. Ask them to point to where they feel the anger or excitement. See if the child can describe what it feels like.
For the Main Article on Mindful Classrooms, CLICK HERE.
For Mindful Classroom Infant and Toddler Activity Ideas, CLICK HERE.
For Mindful Classroom School-Age Activity Ideas, CLICK HERE.
For Mindful Classroom Director’s Corner Activity Ideas, CLICK HERE.