Mindful Monday – The Art of Mindfulness for Children

Welcome to Mindful Monday! I have found that being mindful encompasses the act of being watchful, aware, wary, heedful, alert, careful, or attentive, in whatever area in my life I feel it applies to. Each week I try to self-discover new things about myself.

This week, I noticed an increase in the articles I have been reading about mindfulness and how it pertains to children. This awareness in our lives can be a great tool in the upbringing of children. I believe that if kids are taught things at an early age, they have the tendency to bring those things with them into their adult lives. The other thing I like about teaching children mindfulness is that it gives you the opportunity to spend some quality time with your kids. They grow up so quickly. Spend as much time with them as you can. Of course, this is a great activity for grandparents too! ❤

One of my favorite sites to visit about mindfulness is LeftBrainBuddha.com. You will find a plethora of encouragement and inspiration on this wonderful site. The image below is from that site.

I love mantras and use them in my daily life to ground myself, especially in my weight loss efforts. I can see where a mantra would be useful for a child too. There are always times when we need to calm ourselves and repeating a mantra really helps with that, both for young and old! Please visit the link above to find coloring sheets to accompany the various mantras. I can see this as a great way to teach gratitude and thankfulness to kids.

Just remember, mindfulness is not about suppressing our feelings and emotions. It is about learning to deal with those feelings. Make sure you take time to talk with your child about those kinds of feelings. They learn how to deal in life from you, paving the way for them. Communication is critical to learning.

I found the image above on Facebook and immediately thought about how great it would be if kids understood mindfulness at an early age. I bet it would make the teenage years a bit more bearable! These instructions are quoted from LeftBrainBuddha.com and are meant to share the information with my readers. Please visit the site for more information:

“Mind in a Jar”

  • Purpose:
    • To teach children that they can calm their bodies and minds with deep breathing
  • Supplies needed:
    • Jars (I used Ball canning jars)
    • Water
    • Glitter
      • (Hint: Glitter is with the bracelet-making kits at Target. I searched forever to find it!)

My children (ages 3 and 6) were very excited about the project. To make the project more fun, this control-freak mama let them do all of the work {including pouring the water and dumping in the glitter. Allowing glitter in my house has been a huge step forward for me in my parenting… but that’s another post!}.”

“Using the Mind Jars

“Think about a time when you were really, really mad or upset,” I told them. It took about 3 nanoseconds for them to come up with examples.

“What did you feel like?” I asked.

“I feel like I want to hit someone,” my daughter said.

“I want to say ‘stupid, stupid, stupid’ to someone,” was my son’s response.

“Okay, let’s shake up our jars really fast!” They loved shaking the jars and watching the glitter swirl around. “That’s what your mind is like when you’re really mad. Those thoughts about being mean or saying mean words are all over!”

The swirl of emotion and anger in our minds

“But we can calm down those angry thoughts and calm our bodies, instead of acting or talking in a way that would hurt people’s feelings,” I told them. I instructed them to breathe deeply {which we’ve done together before}. As we breathed, we watched what happened to the swirling glitter.

The mind settles with calming breaths
{probably should have used heavier glitter?}

I reinforced the message to my children that it’s okay to get mad ~ that’s just part of life, and there will always be things and people who upset us. What is important, I tell them, is how we respond. We can take some deep breaths, and then instead of hitting someone, or calling them stupid, we can calmly talk to them about what has frustrated us.”

“Making it a Practice

When we did this project, the kids were naturally more interested in just shaking the jars and watching the glitter swirl around than listening to mom’s lecture on mindfulness. But this exercise was really helpful in a number of ways. Here’s how we continue to use the Mind Jars:

  • We practice our deep, calming breathing at times when the kids are already calm ~ we shake the jars, and then breathe calmly while we watch the glitter settle.
  • We keep the jars in the kitchen, or at our Quiet Place {in the Study} where the kids can reach them, and they can get them if they need to use them to calm down.
  • When they get upset, we encourage them to remember this exercise {or go get their jar} ~and this part only works if we continually use the jars at times when they are NOT mad. {I smiled when, as my son threw a tantrum yesterday morning, his big sister grabbed his mind jar to help him calm down.}

I found this activity to be a great art project, a fun way to spend mindful time with my children, and a great age-appropriate way to teach them about mindfulness!”

(READ MORE By: Sarah Rudell Beach
Sarah is a writer, teacher, and mother. At Left Brain Buddha, she writes about her journey to live and parent mindfully, joyfully, and thought-fully in her left-brain analytical life. When not working, she enjoys dancing, reading, and hanging out with her little Buddhas).

Mindful Manners from Our Girl Scout Troup

What are your mindful goals for this week? Remember, this is not a challenge.  This is an offering of support.  If you would like to join in with your own Mindful Monday goals you can do so in the comments, or on a separate post of your own making.  If you want to link back to my post, please feel free to do so however, it is not necessary.  My main objective here is to give, and get support to become more mindful of the things I take for granted in my life.

Thank you for all the fabulous blog posts I am seeing in our WordPress community about mindfulness. It is a joy to see so many of you sharing your mindful goals. Thank you for enriching my life with your experiences.

Thank you so much for joining me in my pursuit of becoming more mindful.  I appreciate your support!  I wish much peace and joy to everyone this week.


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