This quick activity will teach kids how to take a mindful break and re-focus on the here and now.
I looked outside and I saw my son sitting in the middle of our backyard alone. He was staring at something on the ground for a long time. A peculiarly long time.
I snuck up behind him to see what was holding his typically short attention span for an extended period of time.
He told me he was watching a little worm crawl through the grass like it was in a jungle.
He had no worries about what happened earlier in the day, and no fears about what was yet to come.
My son was fully and completely living in the moment.
I have no doubt in my mind, that the best quality we can teach modern kids is how to be mindful.
How to stop and smell the roses. How to enjoy the little moments. Live a centered and focused life full of intention.
When kids learn to be mindful, the other lessons will come. The kindness, resiliency, motivation. It will all come when our children learn to slow down and live in the moment.
How to Take a Mindful B.R.E.A.K.
Mindfulness is the basic ability to be fully present in the moment. Aware of where we are and what we’re doing. Mindfulness is being able to live in the moment.
Unfortunately, we can’t always be in a state of mindfulness, and neither can our children. They have responsibilities and distractions, too.
This is why I developed the BREAK method. Breathe-Rest-Empower-Absorb-Knowledge method.
This simple 5 step method can help kids and adults quickly focus on what is going on around them and take a mental B.R.E.A.K.
The first step is to take 5 slow, deep breaths. Try the bumble bee method:
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and fill up your lungs
- Slowly exhale, making a BUZZ sound
Other breathing exercises can be found here.
Now that you have slowed your heart rate, it is time to rest. This does not mean to sleep.
It refers to giving the mind a quick “nap” from everything that is going on around you. Clear the mind of racing thoughts and sit still for a moment.
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Next, it is time to give you or your child a boost of confidence and self-worth with a few positive affirmations.
Simply say three nice things about yourself.
Repeating positive phrases has been shown to:
- Help with the tendency to linger on negative experiences (Wiesenfeld et al., 2001).
- Be linked to academic achievement by stopping GPA decline in students who feel left out at college (Layous et al., 2017)
- Lower stress levels (Weisenfeld et al., 2001).
- Used effectively in leading people to improve their physical behavior (Cooke et al., 2014)
Related: Positive Affirmations for Kids
After allowing a minute to calm down and focus, it is time to learn to absorb what is going on around you.
Use your five senses to ask yourself what do you:
- Hear at the moment?
- See around you?
- Feel with your hands or body?
- and Smell?
Finally, the knowledge step is for thinking what you learned and what you will do in the future.
Did you take a mindful break because you were upset? Consider what made you upset and how to handle it next time. Did you take a mindful break just to feel less distracted? What worked best for you?
Final Thoughts on How to be Mindful
I don’t expect all kids and adults to play with earthworms outside for an hour, but these 5 steps will help kids and adults learn to focus on the present.
Because- if you can’t enjoy the little things from time to time, then what is life all about?
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