Mindfulness - or learning how to be in the present moment – teaches children how to see and accept things as they are, without emotion or judgment, to simply be in the moment consciously and with a sense of equanimity and calm. Cultivating mindfulness teaches children to be more in touch with how they feel, to be more compassionate and thoughtful. They become better skilled at managing stress and are better able to stay rational in both thought and behavior.
Introducing children to the magic of their breath is an invaluable gift. Our breath is the only system in our body that we can consciously control - this is why it’s magical!
When children learn to cultivate conscious and longer inhale breaths, they increase the oxygen in their blood stream, which helps to alleviate tired muscles and brains. When they extend the exhale, they tap into their para-sympathetic nervous system which instantly helps them to feel calmer. The Relaxation Response kicks in.
Focusing on one’s breath helps to alleviate stress, reduce anxiety, calm down, re-set and feel more grounded. Conscious mindful breathing brings the body and mind into quiet balance.
Practice Peace Breath when your child is feeling anxious or distressed.
- Kneel or sit in a chair with feet firmly on the ground and a straight spine.
- Close your eyes or gaze softly downward - relax your whole body and jaw.
- Inhale slowly through your nose. Exhale slowly and whisper the word ‘peace’. Let the ‘ssss’ sound linger.
- Continue breathing in and whispering out the word “peace”.
- Visualise peace coming into and through you. Spread it through the room, the whole house, to your family and friends, classmates, neighborhood, all the animals, and to the whole world.
- What other words can you think of to whisper that will encourage a longer exhale?
Once you’re both feeling calmer, engage in a colouring activity, but do it slowly, mindfully and in silence. Play a soothing piece of music. Pay attention to the detail - stay in the lines, colour very slowly, make thoughtful choices about colour and texture – it’s about the process, not the final product.