Are you looking for new ways to help your students achieve success, not only academically, but also with their behavior choices? Although I don’t have a magic wand or a miracle cure, I will share quick mindfulness and mediation tips and tricks that you can implement in as little as 10 minutes a day. 10 minutes of peace in your classroom EVERY SINGLE DAY? Yes, the dream is real folks!
The Benefits of Mindfulness and Meditation for Kids:
Current research suggests that mindfulness and mediation practices are beneficial for children. Some of those benefits include increased attention, better self-regulation and self-awareness, and increased resilience. Mindfulness and meditation can also impact the parts of the brain which regulate emotions, memory, and decision-making (the amygdala, hippocampus, and the prefrontal cortex). In addition, research shows that meditation, in place of in-school suspension, is having a positive impact on problematic student behavior.
Steps for Implementing Meditation and Mindfulness in the Classroom:
- Choose a ten minute chunk of time in your day. Many teachers choose a time in the afternoon since kids generally have a more difficult time maintaining focus and body control after they’ve been in school for 3 or 4 hours. I’ve found that the middle of the afternoon works well because it helps prevent students from mentally checking out during the final hour of the day.
- Spend some time giving students an explanation of mindfulness. Students are more willing to take risks and try something new if they have information about why it will serve them. Explain that mindfulness is about awareness, being present, acceptance, and focus.
Awareness is about paying attention to your environment, your thoughts, and your body.
Being present is about making efforts to let go of the past and any worries about the future.
Acceptance is about accepting yourself, your current situation, and the people or things around you.
Focus is about choosing what you are paying attention to in the current moment. You might choose to focus on your body, your breath, your thoughts, your experiences, or your senses.
- Spend some time explaining the benefits of practicing meditation. Tell students that meditation is when a person or a group of people take time to train their brains to be more mindful and aware. Meditation can help students learn how to focus, feel more peaceful, and connect with everything around and inside them. It also helps people learn how to respond to life’s challenges with more control, wisdom, and acceptance. Meditation is the formal practice of being mindful.
- Share a meditation or mindfulness picture book with your students. This is not a necessary step, but it may help your students understand the concepts more clearly. Some of my favorite mindfulness and meditation picture books are listed here:
- Peace Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee MacLean
- Moody Cow Meditates by Kerry Lee MacLean
- Meditation is an Open Sky by Whitney Stewart
- Puppy Mind by Andrew Jordan Nance
- Sitting Still Like a Frog by Eline Snel
- A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Master of Mindfulness by Laurie Grossman, Angelina Alvarez, & Mr. Musumieci’s 5th Grade Class
- What Does It Mean To Be Present? by Rana DiOrio
- Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda by Kerry Lee MacLean and Lauren Alderfer
Guide Students Through a Meditation or Mindfulness Exercise:
- Locate an exercise or activity that would work well with your students.
- Search on YouTube for “meditation music for kids” or “guided meditation for kids” (watch the video prior to playing it in your classroom, of course).
- Use a search engine on the internet. For example, “meditation script for kids” or “mindfulness exercises for kids” will garner a variety of resources.
- Download a FREE meditation and mindfulness product in my resource library. It contains a couple of quick exercises. When you subscribe to my site, you’ll receive the password for free access.
- An entire mindfulness and meditation product can be found here in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. It includes instructional pages as well as a number of exercises (some activities include guided scripts).
- Get your hands on other age appropriate scripts or activities through Amazon or Teachers Pay Teachers.
- Here are a few quick and easy ideas to get you started. Students can…
- close their eyes and count their breaths for a specified amount of time.
- close their eyes and go to the most peaceful place they can imagine.
- spend time focusing solely on the sounds they hear in their environment.
- listen to you (or another student) as you guide them to breathe in and out with a certain number of counts on each inhale and exhale.
- imagine that peace and calm enters their body with every breath, while stress and anxiety is released on each exhale.
- scan their body and pay particular attention to any stress or tension in specific spots while intentionally releasing that tension.
Remember that your mindfulness and meditation activity can be as short or as long as you’d like. Even if you only have ONE minute right after lunch, it is beneficial to use that one minute purposefully. Tell students to close their eyes, count their breaths, be mindful of the sounds in the environment, or take themselves to a relaxing destination. If one minute can make a difference, imagine what 10 minutes each day might do?
You might also be interested in these posts:
- Using Positive Affirmations in the Classroom: Is it Worth Your Time?
- The Top 4 Ways to Foster Grit in the Classroom
- The Secrets to Using Effective Student Praise
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