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10 Mindfulness Tips for Elementary School Students


As scientists continue to study education and how the brain works, it's becoming more evident that we need to teach social-emotional learning alongside academics.


Mindfulness is one way to help children deal positively with stress, emotions, and other people's words and actions. Practicing mindfulness helps people stay focused on the present and opens up avenues to self-awareness and ways to regulate emotions and reactions.


Everyone—particularly children with learning disabilities such as ADHD—can benefit from practicing mindfulness. It helps relieve anxiety and depression, reduce stress, and increase focus.


If you have a child or student in elementary school, follow these ten easy tips to help them exercise more mindfulness in their daily lives.


1. Exercise Your Five Senses

Being aware of where you are in the present moment is a simple way to practice mindfulness. Help children attune themselves to all their senses by noticing the following things:


Look around you and notice five things you typically wouldn't see, such as an empty nail hole in the wall.

Pay attention to what you're feeling on your skin, like the smooth surface of a table or the soft texture of your shirt.

Be quiet and listen to the sounds all around you. Think of what is making those sounds.

Next, try to notice some smells that you usually wouldn't take time to perceive. Maybe there's a musty smell from wet boots or the faint smell of something cooking in another part of the building.

Finally, turn your attention to taste. What can you taste right now? Take a sip of water, or eat something. Pay attention to the flavor.

Everyone—particularly children with learning disabilities such as ADHD—can benefit from practicing mindfulness. It helps relieve anxiety and depression, reduce stress, and increase focus.


If you have a child or student in elementary school, follow these ten easy tips to help them exercise more mindfulness in their daily lives.


2. Count Your Breaths

Breathing is a crucial part of mindfulness. There are many breathing exercises children can do. One popular exercise involves lying down on your back and putting a small stuffed animal on your belly.


Watch the stuffed animal rise and fall as you inhale and exhale. Count the inhale (one) and the exhale (two), inhale (three), exhale (four), and so on. Keep going until you reach a set number.


3. Breath With Your Belly

This breathing exercise is best when you are standing up. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. When you breathe in, fill your belly up like a balloon. When you exhale, deflate the balloon. This type of deep breathing tells your body it's time to relax.


4. Make Mindful Observations

Mindfulness can be incorporated into everything we do. Remind your children that scientists are very good at making observations. Being very observant is one way to slow your mind down and stay in the present.


Give children something specific to observe, such as a pinecone. Tell them to hold the object, look at it, examine its color, texture, size, and smell. Look for imperfections. Look for something that makes it different from other pinecones.


If their mind wanders, tell them to focus back on the pinecone. Examine it for a set amount of time. Take the pinecone away and have the child talk or write about it in detail.


5. Keep a Mindful Journal

For students who like to write, encourage them to journal using a few of these mindfulness prompts:


Name two things you're thankful for right now.

If you could do anything you want today, what would it be?

Describe your favorite memory in detail.

Think about an activity you enjoy doing. Why do you like it so much?

If you could have any pet, what would it be? Describe the pet, the food you give it, the things you do with it, and give it a name.

What is your favorite color? What do you think about when you think about that color?

Think about your family. What is one of your favorite things about each family member?


6. Incorporate Quiet Time Into Your Schedule

Everyone needs to take breaks. Employees usually get break time at work—quiet time for children is the same concept. You get a chance to relax by yourself and prepare your mind, emotions, and body for more learning.


Quiet time can look different for different children. Your child could read a book, draw a picture, fix a puzzle, or lie down on a bed and stare up at the ceiling.


Children must have a few minutes where they don't have to be social or energetic. Quiet time might be particularly effective following recess, playtime, or other high-energy activities.


7. Notice Your Moods

Teach children to pay closer attention to their emotions. Most of the time, we react thoughtlessly. We can be angry, overwhelmed, distracted, or bubbly without noticing that our mood has changed.


Help children to stop and reflect on their feelings. It may be helpful to have them draw a picture of a person sharing their current mood.


8. Take a Mindful Walk Outdoors

Spending time in nature is a great way to encourage mindfulness. Take your children for a walk outside. Stroll quietly and notice things with all five of your senses. You could also take a rainbow walk and look for something that matches each color in the rainbow.


9. Try a Mindful Dance

Many mindful techniques for students are very calm and quiet. This one involves more movement.


It's pretty easy—turn on some child-appropriate music and tell the children they can move or dance whenever the music is playing. When it turns off, they need to freeze.


During the freeze, you ask them a mindful question, such as, "What does it feel like to stop suddenly?" or, "What did that music make you think of?"


You can also ask them to move in specific ways, like an animal or a ballerina.


10. Create a Mindful Glitter Jar

Sometimes, children need a visual to understand a concept. Use these instructions to create a glitter jar, and then use the glitter as a metaphor for the child's thoughts and feelings.


You can swirl the glitter around and tell a story about an event that might make someone upset or excited.


Show them how they can't see clearly anymore because of all the emotions and thoughts swirling around. Let the jar be still, and notice how everything settles down, and you can see clearly again.


You can't rush mindfulness. It takes time to practice and incorporate it into your child's life.


Keep practicing it with them, and together, you'll become more aware of your own feelings, and you'll be able to use the techniques on your own during stressful times.



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