Mindfulness – this is something that I have been reading a lot about for myself and my own self improvement, but it is also something that I thoughtfully tried to incorporate into my classroom last year.
Yes, I brought mindfulness into my classroom of wiggly, giggly four year olds and guess what. They LOVED it! At the time I was working at a Quaker school. Once a week, the rest of the school K-8 went to the meeting house (what Quakers call their church) for 30 minutes. At the meeting house, everyone K-8 sat in silence and thought about the different Quaker testimonies (Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, Stewardship) for that whole time! I went to a retreat for educators about Quakerism and came back completely absorbed with the idea that my little guys needed to start experiencing a bit of the mindfulness that the rest of the school was experiencing. I could only think of positives that could come from bringing this into the classroom.
So once a day, at either our morning meeting or end of the day meeting (when we could find time), I would ask my littles to sit comfortably take a few deep breaths in together and close their eyes. We always turned off the lights and I gave them a focus for those two minutes
*listen to the noises around them
*think of a person who may not being feeling well ( a friend who is out sick) and send them positive healing thoughts
*in the fall I gave them a leaf to study
*they could count their breaths
Then at the end of the 2 minutes they could share their observations, or who they thought of if they wanted to!
And let me tell you thinking and sending positive healthy thoughts about a friend was one of their favorite things during their mindfulness time.
I have been reading article after article about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. According to many studies and articles (here, it seems to help littles focus, become kinder, more self aware of their emotions and helps calm them down. And just think, if it does all of that for your little – it will definitely help you relax from that hectic work day, have just that much more patience with your little, and relieve stress and anxiety! I know I always feel better after I meditate (well I usually fall asleep because I meditate before bed!).
Now I propose a challenge for you and your little, heck even your whole family. Figure out a time that works best for you, I would recommend first thing when you wake up or mid-afternoon right after nap. For the next week use that time for meditation and mindfulness. Two minutes, that is all! Find a comfy spot in your house and sit/lay/stand/headstand however you want for those two minutes! Just two minutes!
Monday – listen to the noises around the room
Tuesday – think of someone you love
Wednesday – think of something kind you can do that day
Thursday – find an object to observe
Friday – listen to the noises around the room
Saturday -send healthy /loving thoughts out to a loved one
Sunday – sit and count your breathing
And if you are hooked I have the book for you! Because let’s face it we review books on this blog! Sitting Still like a frog by Eline Snel. It is a fantastic guide to help you start a mindfulness practice with your little. She has tons of different activities to try and great advice!