One important aspect of mindfulness in children is diverting them from the negative habit of crying, wringing of hands, screaming or whatever unhelpful habit they use in stressful situations to a positive, calming and reflective habit.
One simple strategy that seems to work for lots of children (and adults) is the Starfish Hand Meditation. It is a great way to divert and refocus the mind.
Today’s challenge is the Starfish Hand Meditation.
1- Close your eyes and breathe deeply.
2- Spread your fingers out like a starfish on one hand.
3- Take your index finger from the other hand and trace around your fingers and hand; taking deep breaths and exhaling fully as they trace.
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 usually tell children to breathe in when they trace up a finger and breathe out when they trace down the finger.
– 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
– It is important that you share these strategies, if possible, when the child is in a calm state and practice in a calm state. Then encourage its use when signs of distress appear.
Encourage your child to do it whenever they are feeling anxious, upset, mad, etc.
Once they are calm, discuss how this strategy made them feel. How did their body feel? How long did it take to calm down.
This is one strategy I have witnessed children and ADULTS using with consistency and independently after only showing and trying the strategy once.
Don’t forget to share your child’s mindfulmoment and successes with #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge the comments, on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at Education’s Voice – Mindfulness ( https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ ).
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).