Day 5- #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge

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.

How to:

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.

Top Tips:

– 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).

Day 4- #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge

Superhero Mindfulness

Body language is the way that our body communicates to others and, to an extent, to ourselves.

The body language of the “Superhero Mindfulness” strategy reduces anxiety, improves children’s ability to deal with stress and boosts their self-confidence.

How To

Before you begin, discuss with your child how superheros stand, arms spread out or clinched fisted resting in hips, feet spread apart, sheet stuck out and head held high. Discuss how this makes the superhero feel powerful, calm and confident.

Now, tell your child to close their eyes and get into their superhero pose.

Have your child focus on their deep belly breaths as they pretend to be a hero.

After about a minute or two, have them open their eyes, stretch and relax.

You may want to discuss with them how they feel and what they were thinking of when they were pretending to be superheros.

Several times in the day at random points just shout “Superheros!” And everyone stops and gets into their pose (even YOU) and take some deep belly breaths before your resume with the day.

Don’t forget to share your child’s mindfulmoment and successes by using the hashtag #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge in the comments, on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at Education’s Voice – Mindfulness ( https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ ).

Day 3- #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge

When a person is in crisis (stressed, anxious, mad, upset, etc), they tend to tense up their muscles. This is especially true with children.

Progressive muscle relaxation helps a person to relax and become more calm and in control. Research reveals that there is a reduction in the levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress when this strategy is employed.

Today, we will begin developing this strategy through a simple Squish and Relax routine.

Squish and Relax

– Have your child sit comfortably with a soft, squishy object. It can be a ball of play dough, a small stress ball, a small stuffed anima, etc. They are to hold this in their hands.

– Ask them to take a deep breath.

– Direct them to become aware of their body and instruct them to slowly move their awareness to the dough, noticing the sensations from their arms and hands.

– Tell them to squeeze tightly like they are trying to pick up a heavy weight. Have them hold this pose for a count of five, then relax.

– Repeat this cycle over a period of a minute.

– Repeat with other hand.

– Afterwards, discuss with the children how their bodies felt during and after the activity. What did they notice? How could this help them when they are angry, upset or anxious?

Don’t forget to share your child’s mindfulmoment and successes by using the hashtag #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge in the comments, on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at Education’s Voice – Mindfulness ( https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ ).

Day 2 #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge

For many people, the events happening around us can be scary. When people are highly anxious, the reptilian brain snaps into action and feelings of survival and negativity surface. Negativity does not help mental health and we have to make a conscious decision to be tankful for what we do have.

Gratitude (being thankful) is a fundamental component of mindfulness. Teaching children (and adults) to be thankful for the the abundance in their lives as opposed to focusing on the actual material objects is not always readily accepted in our society.

By taking the time to be grateful and lingering in the grateful moment, we start to be mindful of the good things in the world. We start to see more positive things; positivity breeds positivity. We start to see the good in people, we crave it and, when we see it, we want to repeat even more good.

Today’s challenge is to encourage thought around the good things happening in our lives and enjoying those precious moments of gratitude withe the Fab Five activity.

Fab Five

You will need:

– paper

– markers, pencil colours or crayons

How to:

1- Take some time to discuss what fabulous things they have in their lives and are thankful for having. Don’t allow your child to only focus on material things. Encourage non tangible things as well such as love from an individual, time spent with an individual or special friendships. Discuss why they are thankful for those things.

2- Have your child place their hand on the paper with their fingers spread and trace around their hands.

3- Then, in each finger, have them write and/or draw one thing they are thankful for having in their lives. In the end they will have five fabulous things that they are thankful for having.

4- In the palm, have them either draw something that represents their personality or write their name.

5- Place the completed drawing somewhere they can see often. Encourage them to look at it often during the day as a reminder to be thankful.

Don’t forget to share your child’s mindfulmoment and successes by using the hashtag #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge in the comments, on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at Education’s Voice – Mindfulness ( https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ ).

Day 1 #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge

What could be more natural than breathing?

It is an automatic reflex that is hard wired in our brains. It changes energy from tension to relaxation. It does this by turning off our sympathetic nervous system that produces stress hormones. This then turns on our parasympathetic nervous system, which turns off the stress hormone pump.

Deep breathing relaxes the body, decreases the heart rates lowers the blood pressure and creates the feeling of calmness. In addition, the deep breathing ensures the essential extra oxygen the brain needs for optimal function.

It all sounds very technical however, to a child it can feel magical!

Teaching children fun and active breathing exercises will help them control their emotions and calm themselves down in situations that make them extremely happy and hyper and in situations that make them very mad and upset. Also, daily breathing sessions, even when calm, increases a person’s feeling of well being and control. 

Here is a favourite fun breathing exercise for children to try today.

Snake Breathing

When snakes are coiled and resting, they look around calmly, and when they move, they are slow and smooth.


– Have your child sit up tall.

– Take a deep breath in, filling up their whole body.

– Pause

– Breathe out slowly and smoothly, making a hissing sound for as loud as they can. (Note: The key to deep breathing is to exhale longer than you inhale. The hissing controls the extension of the exhale.)

– Repeat for three to five rounds, letting them slow down and become calmer each time.

– Afterwards, discuss with them about how their body is feeling and what they are noticing following the breathing exercise. 

Many children enjoy being told the science of breathing and understanding why this does help them calm down.

Repeat at least five times today while calm. You are wanting to create a habit. Then, at any point you see them getting angry, upset, or overly excited try getting them to use the snake breath.

Don’t forget to share your child’s mindful moment using the hashtag, #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge and successes in the comments below, on Twitter @Ed_Tmprince or on Facebook at Education’s Voice – Mindfulness ( https://www.facebook.com/educationsvoice/ ).

Join Us For #PositivePostItDay 2020

Attention!
#PositivePostItDay is coming!
14th February 2020

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Have you heard of Positive Post It Day? Maybe you have and maybe you haven’t. That is ok.

A few years ago, a young lady in Canada called Caitlin Haacke, decided to take a stand against bullying. She tells her story On Tedx here: http://youtu.be/cElB84gf6uc.

She single handily has started a movement of positivity that is sweeping the world. Her belief that positivity begets positivity that began as an anti-bullying campaign, has led to children and adults alike considering their words carefully and filling the world with kindness, love and appreciation.

The impact of this young lady’s simple idea can be seen in this news report, http://youtu.be/0zLteIn7IS0 and this compilation video of the positive post it notes written in one day, http://youtu.be/87RC1NQgPzQ.

I have been left in awe by the inspiring, clearly mindful activity of gratitude, that has begun. It fits very clearly within my Mindfulness in the Classroom series, particularly Gratitude. These little Random Acts of Kindness can spark a change and belief in the compassion of humankind.

In schools, this is a perfect circle time, PHSCE lesson or Mindfulness activity. In work places, it is a mindful activity that encourages good mental health and well being.

Thus, I purpose we all join Caitlin in her a Positive Post Its and declare together, Friday 14th February 2020, #PositivePostItDay . (It seems fitting to celebrate this day on Valentine’s Day.)

How can you participate?

1- Share this post with others and tweet, Face Book, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc letting others know about the day. Get it out there! Let me know you are joining us.

2- On the day, no matter where you are (schools, work, businesses, home, online, etc), create and share Positive Post It Notes (Be sure to watch the videos if you want some ideas.).  

At my school, every person gets AT LEAST 2 post it notes. They write one about someone else and one about themselves. We also open our doors before school to parents/Carers to write their own notes. Breaktime and lunchtimes are also times we have post it note stations and children can write even more notes.

3- Stick the notes on the walls, windows, books, online social media feeds, ANYWHERE!

4- If you share them online, make sure you tag them as #PositivePostItDay. Let’s paper the world in positivity one post it note at a time!

Here is what #PositivePostItDay2016 looked like:

https://educationsvoice.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/positivepostitday-a-growing-mindfulness/

Time to stock up on Post It notes!

Mindful Art Appreciation- Mindfulness in the Classroom

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According to the “Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2017”, published by NHS Digital, one in eight (12.8%) of children and young people aged between five and 19, surveyed in England in 2017, had a mental disorder.

We need to be clear, the development of mindfulness strategies will not make stress in our lives disappear or cure the pressures in our lives.  However, it will give us the tools that we can access to find a moment of calm that allows us to react more positively to the stresses we face. 

Giving these tools to our children gives our children a chance to cope with life and take control of their emotions.

Art, the creation and appreciation, is something that gives many people moments of mindfulness.  Helping children to practice Mindful Appreciation of Art places another tool in their Positive Mental Health Tool Kit.

Mindful Appreciation of Art in the Classroom- How to Guide

-Select a piece of art.  It can be a drawing, painting, photograph or sculpture.  It can be a picture of a piece of art or it can be the actual piece of art.

-Play a selection of meditation music for the length of time you want the children to meditate. Usually this is one minute per year of age, ie 6 years old= 6 minutes

-Children are to sit or stand comfortably and take three deep belly breaths.

-They are to look at the artwork, focusing on the centre of the design while still breathing at a steady rate.

-Gently guide the children in a soft voice, letting them know it is ok for their gaze to wonder to other parts of the art, noticing the designs, colours and ways the lines meet each other. As the meditation comes towards the end, encourage them to focus back on the centre.

-In the last 30 seconds of the meditation, have the children close their eyes and get them to recreated the design in their mind, continuing even, steady breaths.

-Complete the meditation with three deep mindful belly breaths

Note:  Once taught,  you can use this strategy when you actually go to an art museum.

Find more mindfulness strategies can be found in the books:

100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Mindfulness In The Classroom,  

50 Fantastic Ideas for Mindfulness or on www.educationsvoice.wordpress.com