Day 23- #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge

I am sure your children are as tired of hearing “Wash your hands!” as much as mine is. However, you can use hand washing as a mindful focus to support mindfulness development.

Many psychologists believe that our emotions begin with a physical sensation, positive or negative. When we focus on positive sensations that are calming, we can emotionally become calm.

Today, our mindfulness practice will focus on positive physical sensations to mindfully be in the moment and anchor us in the present.

Washing Hands Meditation

When we wash our hands in warm water, it opens the blood vessels and tricks your brain out of a stressful state.

– When your child goes to wash their hands, have them be mindful of the sensation of the water and soap as they rub their palms, between their fingers and on top of your hands. Get them to breathe deeply allowing their breathing enhance the feel of water and soap.

Ask them the following questions:

– How does this moment feel?

– How is it making the rest of your body feel?

Repeat every time they wash their hands today.

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 22- #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge

As I am writing this blog I can hear the tv in the background and character 1 is telling character 2 that the key to stress management is to completely immerse oneself into an activity that engages the mind on something different that the stress that one is having. This reminded me of one of my favourite mindfulness strategies, Mindful Doodling.

The goal of Mindful Doodling is to fully engage with your doodles in a meditative way. It requires slowing down, focusing on the paper and pen and doodling repeatively with full intent. Thus, you become present in the moment.

Thus, mindful doodling:

focuses the mind
calms the body and mind
relieves stress
encourages relaxation
increases your sense of wellbeing
replaces negative or bored habits
allows you to be present and aware

Materials:

– markers, pens, pencil colours or crayons

– plain paper

How to do Mindful Doodling?

You don’t need to have any drawing skills for this to work. (This is a good point as I DO NOT have good drawing skills!) There really isn’t any right or wrong way to mindfully doodle. It is not about the end result but about the process that is being taken.

1- Draw, by freehand, a border around the outer edge.
2- In this step you can do one of three things:
Draw a string inside your border. ( A string is a simple curved line/squiggle that        will lend structure to your design as your pattern will emerge accordingly from the contours of the string. The string divides the border into sections.)
Draw straight or angled lines free hand within the border dividing the area into smaller sections.
Choose a corner of the border and begin step 3.
3- Start creating your doodle with patterns drawn with a pen or marker along the contours of the string, lines or border. Allow the pattern to reveal itself naturally.

There is no right or wrong. You can use very simple shapes, lines, dots, squiggles and more. Shade as you desire and be mindful of and deliberate with each stroke.
Keep going until you are finished. You will know when this is.

Enjoy your creation!

Remember: There are NO mistakes. So, no erasing is allowed. Embrace the mark you have made and use it to continue your meditative journey of mindfully doodling.

Top Tips:

– You can use any size paper you desire. It can be as small as a post it note or as large as a poster. It is up to you. However, I suggest that in the beginning you start on a smaller sheet as you get the hang of this mindfulness activity.
-The finer the points of the pens/markers, the finer the detail will be in the doodles.

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 21- #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge

Mindfulness is an integrative, mind-body based approach that helps people change the way they think and feel about their experiences, especially stressful experiences. Giving children this life skill when they are young supports their over all social and emotional development.

Many of us hold stress in our shoulders. It is like a primitive form of contracting our muscles to spring into the fight or flight mode.

Today’s challenge is to get your child to recognise the tension that builds up in their bodies, particularly in the shoulders. When they relax their shoulders and accept the the feeling of restfulness that accompanies they become more relaxed and mindful.

Shoulder Relaxation (How to explain it to your child.)

– Breath deeply and, on the exhale, allow your shoulders to drop towards the floor as if someone is pressing them downward.

– Continue to breathe deeply for five breaths, allowing your shoulders to slightly rise on the inhale and then completely drop on the exhale.

– Recognise how the muscles feel in the shoulder and neck. Remember, do not judge the tension. Just recognise it is there and release the tension.

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 20- #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge

Developing mindfulness has a lot to do with shifting of perspectives. We have some deeply laid neuropathways that allow us to fall into a habit of reactions. We don’t even realise we are reacting; we just do it. Those automatic responses more deeply ingrain responses; many which are negative or destructive to our own health and well-being.

In times of high stress, such as what is happening around the world right now, a vicious cycle can put you on edge and creates reactions devoid of all mindfulness.

You need to focus on changing that perspective and challenging your response

So, if the day is starting to get on top of you and the children, try this quick and easy strategy.

10 Second Mindfulness- STOP

This is a simple but effective strategy to refocus our attention.

S– Stop what you are doing.


T– Take a deep breathe. Breathe in for a count of 5, hold for a count of one and exhale for a count of 8.


O– Observe what is happening around you at this moment.


P– Proceed with what you were doing.

Do this as often as you need during the day. Those few mindful moments can change your reaction to what is happening around you and your children leading to a better positive response that changes the course of events.

You may want to make a few copies of STOP signs and put it in key places as a gentle reminder for giving yourself and your children a mindful moment.

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 18- #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge

We know that breathing 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.

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 17- #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge

Tower Building is like a mini-meditation. It gives children the opportunity to be quiet, think and focus just on what they are doing. Their silent fixed attention is fully in the moment of balancing the objects.

Materials required:
– A collection of objects of different sizes, these can be stones, blocks, books, boxes, etc. Ensure that a large amount have some flatness on each side. But also include a variety of colours and roundness.

– Set the challenge:
“How many stones can you use to make a tower?”

– A place to do the building


– Optional: a camera so the child can take a picture of their tower or paper and pencils so they can make a sketch of their finished tower.

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 15- #MindfulnessForChildrenChallenge

Today, we will focus on the last sense, the sense of taste. Noticing what things taste like and paying attention just to that when you eat something reminds us to be in the present while also allowing us to truly appreciate what we are eating.

– At the beginning of the day, discuss that they will focus on the taste of things they eat. Then, decide to notice that on a given signal. (This could be the ringing of a bell, code word, etc.)


– Have children take a minute to notice.


– Guide them by asking them questions:
-Have you noticed something or someone you have never noticed before?
-How many different things are you noticing? (I always surprise myself when I buy a new car and all of a sudden you notice that car EVERYWHERE!)


– Have the children make a mental note about this #mindfulmoment and congratulate themselves for being in the present and proceed with their learning/work.

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/ ).