I have learned that to support the development of mindful skills in children, we must try lots of strategies and give children lots of strategies so that they can find the ones that work best for them.
One simple strategy that seems to work for lots of children is starfish hand meditation. It is a great way to divert and refocus the mind.
How to do Starfish Hand Meditation?
1- Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
2- Spread your fingers out like a starfish on one hand.
3- Take your finger from the other hand and trace around your fingers and hand.
As you do this, concentrate on only how it feels and let other thoughts float away.
4- Continue until you feel relaxed and calm.
I also tell children to slightly linger and push a little harder when they get to the webbing between the thumb and index finger. This point is considered the acupuncture point called Union Valley. By stimulating this point, it is suppose to help reduce muscle tension and relieve stress.
When I show children this strategy, I also encourage them to do it whenever they are feeling anxious, upset, mad, etc.
This is one strategy I have witnessed children using with consistency and independently after only showing and trying the strategy once.
Note: In order to give proper credit, I researched where this specific meditation came from. It was adapted from the Five-Finger Meditation credited to Mike Bell (pp. 87-88 in Planting Seeds).
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.