Over the next week or so, children all over the country will start to go back to school, to begin a brand new year and to tackle new academic challenges. Mindfulness practices have been proven to help increase concentration, reduce stress, improve sleep and nurture compassion.
Simple, daily attention paid to presence, body position, and sound can help school pupils build their mindfulness capacities. Whether at home or in the classroom, you can help the children in your life get in the ‘back to school’ mood with these three easy exercises.
Using breathing as a calming technique helps children to re-centre themselves and to refocus on the task at hand. Help children learn to do this by asking them to sit cross-legged or to lie on their backs and to focus on the direction and pace of their breath; to notice how it goes down into the stomach and back up and out of the nose in a continuous loop.
Ask children to take a sip of water. Focus on the sensation of the water in the mouth, the temperature of it, the taste of it, the texture of it. A focus on these micro-elements helps with relaxation and builds concentration.
Whether at home or in the classroom, establishing a plan of the week to come – the chores and the fun stuff; the work and the play – helps children prepare for what is coming.
Involve children in planning. This could be when there will be homework, or when deciding on who helps to tidy the classroom or unpack the dishwasher, or how long they can play on their computer for. Whatever it’s for, it helps them to have a stake in their future and their present.
Mindfulness practices can be adapted for all sorts of educational purposes. To find out more, why not download our free ‘Enhancing Your Studies with Mindfulness’ course?