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Mindfulness with Children
Transcript of Mindfulness with Children
Mindfulness with Children
Liandra Aptekar, Robyn Chazen, Cassie Cook, Anna Lawrence and Laura Schultz
Applying Mindfulness with Children
With children, mindfulness is adapted more into games and activities
Shorter practices because of shorter attention spans (1-5 minutes) with more prompts
It is common for parents to be part of the mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness practice with children is similar to the “beginners mind”, where children are taught to note and label emotions
Adaptations of Mindfulness with Children
Benefits for Children
Studies suggest mindfulness with children is beneficial for...
Fernando, R. (2012). Measuring the efficacy and sustainability of a mindfulness-based in-class intervention. Retrieved from http://www.mindfulschools.org/pdf/Mindful-Schools-Study-Highlights.pdf
Hooker, K. E., & Fodor, I. E. (2008). Teaching mindfulness to children. Gestalt Review, 12(1), 75-91.
Saltzman, A., & Goldin, P. (year). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for school-age children. In Greco, S. A., & Hayes, S. C. (Eds.), Acceptance and mindfulness treatments for children and adolescents: A practitioner’s guide (pp. 139-161).
Semple, R. J., Reid, E. F., & Miller, L. (2005). Treating anxiety with mindfulness: An open trial of mindfulness training for anxious children. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly, 19(4), 379-392.
Thompson, M., & Gauntlett-Gilbert, J. (2008). Mindfulness with children and adolescents: Effective clinical application. Clinician Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 13, 395-406. doi: 10.1177/1359104508090603
Zelazo, P., & Lyons, K. E. (2011). Mindfulness training in childhood. Human Development, 51, 61-65. doi: 10.1159/000327548
Questions and Reflection
Supplement to medications
eating disorder clinics
self-injury & suicidal ideation
Social skills groups
Relational skills with peers and adults
Various Clinical Settings Mindfulness can be useful with Children
Studies suggest similar findings as with adults, but research is in its infancy.
Positive coping skills
General Well Being
Attention and concentration
School & Academic Functioning
Relationships with adults and peers
Resources should be put towards more research in this area to strengthen the literature base.
alm your body and quiet your mind,
emember to be mindful of emotions,
ct after taking a moment, do so with kindness or
More concrete explanation of the connection between awareness and its effects.
is a wonderful resource to get ideas for mindfulness activities to do with children
Find a comfortable position on the floor, lying down like you are in bed. Close your eyes, or if you aren’t comfortable closing them, have “soft eyes” just gazing up at the ceiling without really focusing on anything.
Imagine you are just waking up. Open your eyes and take a few normal breaths, noticing the breath either going in and out your nostrils, or your belly going up and down.
Now slowly turn your mouth up into a smile- not a big, exaggerated smile, just a normal smile like you would give someone you like. Notice how your lips feel- are they together? Are your teeth showing? Are they warm, cool, damp, or something else?
Now notice your cheeks- how does the smile make your cheeks feel? Does it push them out? Up? Does it make them feel warm, cool, or something else?
Now notice the rest of your face- does your smile change anything about your eyes, your jaw, your ears? What about your teeth and your tongue?
Now bring your attention to the rest of you. When your are ready, slowly raise yourself up as if you are getting out of bed. Gently give yourself a stretch and sit back up.
*Practice mindful smiling every day when you wake up. A smiley face near the bed can be used as a reminder.
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Spiderman Super Senses
Right now we are going to learn to activate your super powers to tune into your senses, just like Spider-‐Man. These are your Spider-‐Man Super Senses. What it takes is a little practice. Let’s start with your sense of hearing. First let’s sit down. Close your eyes and place your hands on your knees. I am going to ring a bell. When you hear the bell, pay attention to the ring until you can no longer hear the ringing sound, clasp your hands together in your lap. (Repeat 3 times). Like Spiderman, we have activated your super power of ultra hearing! Excellent work!
Next we are going to activate your super powers of ultra seeing, touching and smelling. I’m going to give each of you a flower. Hold your flower gently in your hand. When I ring the bell, I want you to gently touch the petals. Feel what each petal is like beneath your fingers. Pay attention to if the petal is soft, rough, wet, furry, smooth, or prickly. See what you can feel. Imagine, like Spiderman, your hands have the power to sense very carefully what the flower feels like. As I ring the bell next, I want you to smell the flower. Breathe in deeply with the flower under your nose. See what the flower’s scent is. Is it sweet? Maybe it has very little smell at all? What do you smell? Now, finally, as I ring the bell, I want you to look very closely at the flower. Pay attention to the lines on the petals. What does the center of the flower look like? Is it bumpy? Smooth? Soft looking? Wet looking? Is there powdery pollen in the center? See what details you can notice in the flower, what little shapes, what lines, what circles, if any. (Ring the bell a final time to signal the end of the activity).
The final activation of your Spiderman super power of ultra senses, is to practice your sense of taste. We are going to practice by tasting, paying very close attention to what a berry tastes like. (Please feel free to use whatever small food you like such as a piece of cereal, a sunflower seed, a raisin, etc. . . ). Start by looking at the berry and noticing, using your super power sight, what the berry looks like. Turn the berry gently between your fingers, feeling what the berry feels like. Next, place the berry in your mouth. Allow the berry to be slowly in your mouth, paying attention to how if feels on your tongue, how the juices in your mouth start to flow. Now slowly begin to chew the berry. See how slowly you can chew it. How does it taste? Sweet? Tart? Sour? Gently swallow the berry, paying attention to the taste that remains in your mouth after you swallow it.
Now you have activated all of your Spider-Man Super Senses! Remember that when you get very quiet and focus, your body and mind are able to relax and take a break from the day’s busy activities. You have the power to activate your Spider-‐Man Super Senses whenever you want to calm down and focus for a moment.
One of Spider-‐Man’s super powers was the ability to tune into his senses. Like a spider, he could hear very tiny noises. He was able to pay very close attention to the noises. When you pay very close attention, you are able to calm your mind and let go of all the noisy thoughts in your head that can be distracting. With practice, you can improve our focus and relax right now, right where you are.
Superheros or characters from common TV shows
Sensations of touch, sounds and mindful practices
(walking, eating, getting dressed, brushing teeth, making the bed, mindful texting). For adults this is used as the “beginners mind”, but for children this could be the main intervention.
-Breathing exercises adapted to children by using a
stuffed animal or toy
and placed on the abdomen to help pay attention to breathing and sensations.
- teaching a puppy to sit, they will for a few seconds and then get distracted and run off.
- where children try to place thoughts, feelings and emotions in bubbles and notice them floating away.