Mindfulness has become a hot topic in recent years as our daily lives get busier. At The Starfish Academy at The Florida Center, our students learn and practice mindfulness each day to help regulate their emotions, improve focus, and build skills for the future.
Mindfulness is a mental state where we are present and aware of ourselves. We are calmly acknowledging our feelings, thoughts and body sensations. By learning mindfulness at a young age, children can regulate and respond to their emotions in healthy ways and develop empathy, kindness and resilience.
Here are tips help practice mindfulness at home and in the classroom, using some of the same techniques as our Starfish Academy classes:
Begin with a Mindful Moment:
As activities transition, or as you and your child begin each day, take a few moments to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, noticing how you and your child feel. The days can get pretty busy, even for young children, so stopping for a moment to acknowledge feelings can help children (and adults!) self-regulate and respond to emotional stressors appropriately.
Take a Mindful Break:
At the Starfish Academy, we call these “brain breaks”. It’s an opportunity for children to learn self-control and take a step back from stressors. This helps bring children back to the moment and develop attention control, to give them a sense of peace and awareness. It’s particularly helpful for children with ADHD or anxiety.
Practice Mindful Listening:
Mindful listening, or listening to your breath and body, is a great way to introduce mindfulness in the classroom and to children. Instructing them to hold their breath or listen to the sounds around them, can help bring their focus back to the present and calm any of the stress or “wiggles” they may have.
Check In With Your Attention:
Similar to a brain break, asking children to “check in” is a great way to stay mindful. Throughout the day, ask yourself, your classroom, or child where their attention is. Did your mind wander? If so, where has your attention gone? Acknowledging that sometimes our minds do wander and redirecting our attention back to the task at hand is a great way to practice staying present.
End The Day With A Mindful Moment:
Ending the day with mindfulness helps give you, your classroom, and your child closure on the day. You can reflect together on what you learned, how you felt, and what was accomplished.