In the earlier post, Mindfulness Starts Here, I wrote that mindfulness is about focusing on the present moment. Children and adults alike can find this purposeful focus extremely difficult. Our brains are humming with a million different thoughts. Multi-tasking is seen as the norm and not the exception. The adrenalin coming from this constant state of motion makes us addicted to the stimulus and leads us feeling lazy if we stop and focus on just one thing.
Mindful listening allows our brain to focus on the present moment. In school, mindful listening is also a good strategy to use during transition times and can be done at any time.
Basic mindful listening is simple and needs a minimum amount of equipment and time.
Listening for the Bell
With this activity, you will need a special bell that you will use just for mindful listening. There are several meditation bell apps for free or paid apps out there. One teacher I know uses the musical triangle with the same success. But, if you want to be more authentic, you can get an actual meditation bell.
1- Have the children sit comfortably and close their eyes.
2- Get them take a few cleansing belly breaths to help relax.
3- Tell them they are to listen to the bell and, when they stop hearing the sound, they are to give you a signal; raising hand, putting head down, etc.
4- To round it off, talk the children through a couple of belly breathes and then begin the lesson.
You will find that children will intently listen to the bell; focused only on the sound. At first, they may stop hearing the bell quickly. Over time, they will focus so hard on the sound, they will continue to hear the sound well after the sound has ended. This practiced, when used regularly, ma is clearly for children the transition time and gives some children that much needed signal and time to change focus of learning.
Once you have found your children have firmly grasped the Mindful Bell activity, you can move on to other listening activities that allows them to develop mindful listening without the bell.
Other Mindful Listening Activities:
10 Step Guide to Mindful Listening from Meditation in Schools( http://www.meditationinschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Mindful-Listening.pdf )
Guided Mindful Listening Meditation by MindscapesRecords.com
http://youtu.be/oj9bX5DqggI (5:33 minutes)
Listening Eggs- (Great activity for a Mindfulness Corner with an Easter Theme) found from Yogainmyschool.com – The simple instructions can be found here: http://youtu.be/_RQpXg-vXv0
What Mindfulness Listening ideas do you have or have been successful?
Share them in the comments below.