Dealing with the aftermaths of uncontrolled emotions takes up a large percentage of time in schools. Children are learning, developing and dealing with a number of social situations. Most of the time, the situations are positive in nature and everything moves along smoothly. However, there are times that the situations are not positive to everyone and children become annoyed or upset with what is happening. It is during these times they are starting to lay the neuropaths in the brain on how they will react to those situations. They are beginning to develop the default habits.
Teaching children how to do a body scan will help them to identify the warning signs of annoyance and upset allowing them to then use other mindful strategies that allows them to deal with the situation in a better way. What needs to be pointed out is that it is ok to be annoyed or upset. These are valid emotions. But, we need to be in control of how we react to these emotions.
Body scans allow us to develop the skills to pay attention to how our body feels, allowing us to pick up the warning signs of subtle moods. Body scanning also teaches us how to notice, enjoy and nurture our positive feelings.
The key to teaching body scanning in the beginning is to practice it before the children are annoyed and angry in order for them to fully understand the process.
Basic Steps for a Body Scan:
1- Have children sit or lie comfortably with their hand relaxed in their lap or to the side and close their eyes.
2- Children are to take three deep breaths allowing their body to fully relax and sink into the floor on the exhale.
3- Then with each deep breath, they imagine the air going to a different part of the body, noticing the sensations in that part of the body and then exhaling any tension they may be feeling in that part of the body. Are they noticing tingling, warmth, coolness or pressure? Continue to move to each different part of the body as you scan either from the top of your head to the tips of your toes or vice versa.
c. Neck and shoulders
g. Hips and bottom
4- Once the whole body is scanned, have them take a deep breath, wiggle their fingers and toes and slowly open their eyes; bringing awareness to the whole body.
5- Questions to ask the children:
a. Does your body feel different or the same from before you started the body scan?
b. Where there any parts of your body that felt tense and you needed to relax?
6- Explain/remind children that when they become annoyed or upset, they can speed up this meditation to identify what is happening with their body in order to use their favourite mindful strategy to calm down.
When developing this practice with children, explore how they might be able to use this as a strategy when they are feeling annoyed or upset; identifying scenarios and even role playing situations that Body Scanning can change the outcome of difficult situations.
The idea is that children start to recognise the sensations they have in their body normally and when they are upset or angry. When the sensations of upset or anger start to appear, they choose to react in a positive manner in order to develop positive mindful reactions.
Body scans can also be used as a regular part of a class’s meditation practice as it is a very relaxing practice and builds on positive control of self.
Theses are some useful resources:
Children’s Body Scan Meditation Script: http://2bpresent.com/2012/11/childrens-body-scan-meditation/
Children’s Body Scan Guided Meditation: https://youtu.be/jJlozFWohz0
4 Minute Body Scan Guided Meditation: https://youtu.be/ZM3eYRODNbc
Body scan is another useful strategy for children and adults alike to develop mindfulness.