Source: Joyfully Jenna
I think it’s all about framing it correctly. When I talk to kids of all ages, I frame mindfulness as something you can’t do wrong. This way, kids don’t see mindfulness as an obligation, but as something they can do to improve their well-being.
While everyone practices mindfulness differently, a few things that generally work well across the board are:
- Meeting people where they’re at—look at what state your kids are at; it makes sense to approach kids differently if they’re jumping out of their skins after PE vs. if they’re zoned out after a boring class. Evaluate what your students are doing before approaching them.
- Games—everyone likes games. Doing things like playing a song and asking students to focus on individual instruments, having students focus on certain elements in a room, or making a mood jar can really help pull them back to a calmer mindset.
- Group routines—having kids do exercises that make them aware of their bodies and how they feel in the moment can help calm down big groups. This could mean anything from breathing exercises to physically shaking out any anxious energy left over from the class before.
Checking in individually—kids of all ages can benefit from someone checking in on their state of mind and giving guidance on how to be present.
Working with kids from rough neighborhoods provides another level of complexity. They carry a lot of trauma with them, and their minds are more often in a state of stress. In these cases, it’s important to tell them to acknowledge these burdens as they focus on being in the present moment.