We know that breathing (read about different techniques here) is a top strategy to mindfully taking control of those emotions. However, some children (and adults) still find it difficult to just dive into calm, controlled breathing. If their anxiety is at its highest point, just breathing just doesn’t cut it.
Five Things is a Mindful Diversion strategy to get the child to the point of controlled Mindful Breathing.
How to use Five Things:
If the usual breathing strategies are not working or you know the child well enough to realise the child has reach the point that Mindful Breathing will not be as effective as it can, then:
- Ask the child to name five things that they can see. If they still are not engaging in actively looking for five things they can see, then you begin…
- “I see a blue book.” “Do you see the blue book?” “Where is the blue book?
- Continue to name things, encouraging them each time to name an object before you name an object.
- Repeat with what they can hear.
- Repeat with what they can smell.
By the end, the person’s mind should divert from the negative spiral and be back to the present moment where breathing strategies can have maximum impact.
NOTE: This is an equally effective strategy for children and adults.
Find more mindfulness strategies on www.educationsvoice.wordpress.com and in the Bloomsbury book, 100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Mindfulness in the Classroom by Tammie Prince ( Bloomsbury Link, Amazon Link )