Our children are growing up in a turbulent world. Add in packed schedules and the pressures of school and homework, and stress and anxiety are often the result. And the more kids are exposed to technology, the more disconnected they can feel from themselves. Easy and fun mindfulness practices will help young kids develop self-awareness, improve focus, release anxiety, and stretch their imaginations. (Read more about how yoga and meditation are transforming underserved schools.)
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need a meditation cushion, chimes, or incense of any kind! And there’s no need to go into lengthy explanations with kids about why mindfulness is good for you. In fact, the fewer words, the better. Just start breathing like a bear together, and see what happens.
Below are 3 meditations from my new book, Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere.
Try them out below, and buy the book on Amazon.com, Target.com, or IndieBound to share all 30 meditations (and whimsical, colorful illustrations) with the little one in your life.
Pretend you’re a bear, hibernating for the winter. When bears hibernate, they breathe slooowly, in and out through their noses. Take a long breath in through your nose, and let it all the way out. Take another long breath in through your nose, and let it all the way out. Feel how cozy and safe you are in your bear cave.
Take one more really long, slow breath in through your nose, and let it all the way out.
Related: This Organization Is Using Yoga To Help Prisoners, Veterans, And Cancer Patients
Imagine you’re holding a cup of hot chocolate in your hands. It’s much too hot to take a sip, so you need to blow on it to cool it off. Bring your cup up close to you, take a long breath in, and slowly blow the air out, to cool off your hot chocolate. Take another long breath in, and slowly blow the air out.
Now take a tiny little sip of your hot chocolate, and say “Mmmmm . . . !” Make the “mmm” sound last as long as you can. Try it again! Take a tiny little sip and say, “Mmmmmm . . . ” Put your hot chocolate down, take a long breath in, and let the air all the way out.
Related: How This 1 Week Digital Detox Made Me A Better Mom
Your Favorite Color
What is your favorite color? Is it blue, purple, orange, or red? Or another color? Imagine a little ball of your favorite color inside your body. Maybe it’s where your heart is, or maybe it’s in your belly. Take a big breath in, and imagine the ball getting bigger and bigger. It takes over your whole body!
Imagine that everything all around you is your favorite color, and it feels really warm and good. Take a long, slow breath in, and let it all the way out.
In addition to Willey's book, she appears in PBS on-air segment "Get Up And Move' and is a musician who creates meditative and musical recordings for kids.