Mindfulness: the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something; a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Mindfulness is a helpful tool when feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or upset but can be a difficult skill for kids to understand and utilize in the moment. However, teaching kids mindfulness techniques can be easier, and more fun, than one would think. One way to help kids practice mindfulness is to help them focus on their breathing. Giving them a physical object to notice their breathing makes practicing mindfulness even easier for them.
To start, practice breathing with your child – ask them to put their hands in front of their mouth and notice the cool air as they breathe in, and the warm air as they breath out; then have them move their hands to their chest or stomach and notice how they rise when they take a breath in, and fall as they breathe out. Practice as many times as desired and discuss what it’s like to focus on breathing and the sensations that come with it.
Now, you can make a breathing wand for a fun variation on focusing on your breathing for your child to utilize when they are upset. The project is simple, uses supplies common in most homes, and can easily be customized.
Toilet Paper or Paper Towel Roll
Tape or Glue
Streamers or Ribbon
Decorative Objects (stickers, gems, glitter, etc.)
Cut an inch off of the top or the roll and set aside.
Allow child to decorate the wand with the markers and decorative objects as they desire.
Tape or glue the streamers or ribbon to the inside of the piece of roll you cut from the top. Once they are secure, attach the top to the roll with tape or glue.
Instruct the child to breathe through the circle on top of the wand and notice what happens when they do.
Author: Peyton Petty, Program Coordinator
Activity and Image from Art of Social Work Blog