Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
“In today’s rush, we all think too much—seek too much—want too much—and forget about the joy of just being.”
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” says Kabat-Zinn. “And then I sometimes add, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”
Today, children suffer from a wide range of issues that affect their ability to learn and be at ease. Many youngsters deal with excruciating feelings of anxiety both at home and at school. They are stressed to the point where doing well in their learning is a serious challenge. Practicing mindfulness can help those who have such difficulties in life. Children are naturally impulsive, and mindfulness teaches one to notice his or her own behaviors and emotional responses to triggers. Practicing it can bring one stronger self-control.
Research confirms that for children, mindfulness can:
- Mitigate the effects of bullying
- Enhance focus in children with ADHD
- Reduce attention problems
- Improve mental health and wellbeing
- Improve social skills when well taught and practiced with children and adolescents.
It’s also important for educators to provide age-appropriate mindfulness practices to children. For example, a simple mindfulness activity titled “Belly Buddies” can be done with small kids in which they will listen to music while also noticing the sensation of a small tone on their stomachs rising and falling with each breath.
“It was observed that kids became more attune to their bodies, breath and to the music.”
Fostering mindfulness in preschoolers with tools like pictures, objects, food, simple movements, and music, can help them develop an ability to better focus their attention and stay present.
Engaging in mindfulness is simple and quick, plus, it doesn’t cost a dime. Here in this blog, I am enlisting few mindfulness activities which can be done in your classroom:
- ‘Just One Breath’ Breathing Exercise – Imagine a sailboat that rises and falls as they breathe; with each inhale and exhale, the boat moves gently on top of the water.
- Heartbeat Exercise– Paying attention to one’s heartbeat has a role in many mindfulness exercises and activities. To begin, tell your kids to jump up and down in place or do jumping jacks for one minute. When they have finished, have them sit down and put a hand over their heart. Instruct them to close their eyes and pay attention only to their heartbeat and, perhaps, their breath as well.
Mindfulness can improve mental health by aiding well-being, attention, self-regulation, and social competency. It just needs to be practiced—and encouraged. All in all, when consistently practiced, the children will learn to pay attention to one thing: breathing.
Remember the old saying:
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”