Introduction to Mindfulness Exercises

Candace Dungee, Founder

Mindfulness reduces anxiety and feelings of overwhelm. A mindfulness practice can lower stress and increase feelings of wellbeing and self-love. Mindfulness is grounding and brings more enjoyment into life. So how do we give this powerful toolbox to kids?

When negative experiences arise, breathing exercises are so effective for bringing calm and wellbeing back into the focus.

When teaching kids to breathe mindfully, make it fun. It doesn’t have to be a serious or long amount of time. In fact, it’s better if they learn how to use it quickly when things fall apart in their world.

Find a time to introduce mindfulness exercises that is relaxed and not emotionally charged. It is best to model the mindfulness practice in moments when your child or students are more likely to be willing students.

Kids love facts! You could discuss the science of breathing and physical changes of stress in our bodies. Allowing them to see the science as well as the practice.

Filling a Pumpkin

In this exercise, ask your child to lay or sit comfortably. They can place a hand on their belly if it is comfortable. Ask them to imagine their belly is expanding. that they are filling it like a pumpkin. Breathing in deeply through the nose and out through the mouth.

Hopping Bunny

Visualize an animal you love that likes to hop. Just like your animal, take three quick sniffs in through your nose and then slowly release the air through your mouth.

Birthday Candles

Imagine your favorite birthday cake topped with candles that are already lit. Take a deep breath… fill your belly and then blow those candles out!

Smelling a Flower

Picture a bright and beautiful flower in your hand. It is beckoning you to smell it. Breathe in deeply through your nose and release your breath through your mouth.

Square Breathing

After trying some of the simpler breathing exercises above. You can try this breathing technique. Tell them you are going to make a square with your breath.

  • Breathing in for the count of four 1,2,3,4
  • Holding for four 1, 2, 3,4
  • And releasing for four counts 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Rest for four counts 1, 2, 3, 4

In all, these exercises work on building an awareness of breathing into and filling their belly. Becoming aware of any short breaths in the movement of their shoulders.

Other exercises you can build into is finding some fun child friendly guided meditations where they are told a wonderful story while being encouraged to breathe deeply. You can also relax their body by including stretches and shoulder rolls into the breathing time together.

Congratulations on being open and willing to bring these wonderful breathing techniques to children. You are giving them a mindfulness toolbox that will last for life!

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