I’d started meditating as a way to focus and calm my own anxieties and noticed a real difference in the way I was responding to stress and chaos. I decided to figure out a way to implement some form of mindfulness with my kids in the hopes that they would also benefit from the practice.
I started by collecting a few items that are used for mindfulness and meditation and while none of these are necessary to own, I felt that having tangible items would be helpful to get my kids involved. We explored these items as we got them so all were familiar by the time we started our daily ritual.
I got a singing bowl for my last birthday and my 4 year old fell in love with it. He and I watched some YouTube videos and practiced making the bowl sing. When we use it together for mindfulness, we sit cross legged with our hands in a mudras on our knees, eyes closed and take deep breaths in and out. I will take a turn of making the bowl sing for about 60 seconds and we open our eyes when we can no longer hear the sound. If time permits, the boys each take a turn, too.
We purchased a few crystals while on our most recent trip to California. I spoke with the woman who was selling them about how to know which crystal to choose, I was overwhelmed with the choices. She said that while each crystal is believed to have certain meanings and powers, it’s really just about what you feel drawn too. My 7 year old chose a sparkly, jagged crystal because he loves sparkly, shiny things and the texture was appealing to him as sensory seeker. My 4 year old chose a smooth, blue cube crystal because he liked the color and the way it fit perfectly into his little hand. We now have a small collection and the boys choose the ones that they feel drawn too that day. They do argue over some and usually have to promise to take turns.
I’ve been using aromatherapy for a while now. For our daily routine, we use an oil of choice (sometimes made by me, sometimes by the boys) diluted in lotion and we rub our hands together, inhale and then massage into our necks and over our hearts. I use Plant Therapy oils and only those from their KidSafe line with my boys.
I AM PEACE
I recently purchased the book I Am Peace by Susan Verde and Illustrated by Peter Reynolds. Sometimes I read the book out loud and sometimes they read or look at the pictures on their own. It’s a beautiful book with a powerful, peaceful message. Even if you don’t have a daily mindfulness routine, I suggest adding this book to your library.
I stumbled upon the Figure 8 tracing board made at the Etsy shop, From Jennifer. I knew that my oldest son would LOVE this item but it has become a favorite for all of us. It has a calming effect for both the user and anyone who is watching.
For us, practicing mindfulness is best done in the morning but this may not be a great time for every family or classroom. I like to dedicate 5-10 minutes each morning, but there are times when we are in a rush and either cut it down to 2 minutes or have to skip it all together. If we only have 5 minutes or less, we do a few deep breaths followed by an oil + lotion and I do the singing bowl for about 30-60 seconds. If we have longer, we’ll read or look at I Am Peace, do the Figure 8 board, and then everyone will have a turn with the singing bowl. We always end with our hands together and say ‘namaste’.
The first week that we began with mindfulness as part of our morning schedule, they groaned every time. But, I pushed through and two months in, they are now disappointed to skip it when we are running late.
When we do the singing bowl, they are supposed to sit quietly, breathing deep and as still as they can. At first, they had a hard time staying calm and focused with their eyes closed, especially my 4 year old, he was often overcome by silliness. But, as we kept on, with gentle reminders about the purpose of mindfulness, they both grew to maintain focus and calm.
Now, when asked about our mindfulness routine, my 7 year old has this to say: “Mindfulness is a good way to help your body. I feel good because it’s helping us have a good day. After mindfulness I feel like I could have a good day.”