Quick tips to help kids practice mindfulness
- Quick tip 1Use the 5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness method.Use the 5-4-3-2-1 mindfulness method.
Calm your mind by noticing what’s around you. Name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel or touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
- Quick tip 2Practice starfish breathing.Practice starfish breathing.
Hold out one hand with your fingers spread wide, like a starfish. With the other hand, use your pointer finger to slowly trace up your thumb as you inhale. Exhale while tracing down toward the inside of the thumb. Keep breathing and tracing the whole starfish.
- Quick tip 3Belly-breathe with a stuffed animal.Belly-breathe with a stuffed animal.
Focusing on breathing can be harder than it sounds, especially for kids who struggle with attention. Lie down and place a small stuffed animal on your belly. Watch the stuffie rise and fall with each breath.
When kids practice mindfulness, they focus on the present. It can help kids notice negative thoughts and shift their attention to what they’re doing or feeling right now. Practicing mindfulness can ease stress and anxiety. It has other benefits too.
Mindfulness means living in the moment without judgment. But many of us, kids and adults alike, don’t naturally function that way.
When a thought pops into our head, we often think about what happened in the past or what might happen in the future. Even if the thought isn’t accurate, we may react to it as if it were.
Imagine a child is studying for a test and starts to feel anxious about it. They try to focus on their notes, but their thoughts keep drifting: I flunked the last test ... I should have asked for extra help ... I’m going to fail.
Practicing mindfulness can help kids notice their emotions and shift to more neutral thinking, like how their breath feels as they inhale and exhale. Being mindful can help kids manage their emotions and tackle challenges.
Keep reading to learn how mindfulness can help build key skills, like focus and self-control.