Learning to manage strong emotions is one of the tasks of childhood. And it can be a challenging task! You're an adult and just think of all the challenges you have doing that. Admit it there are times you: yell or cuss at someone when you are driving, slam something down, raise your voice, name call, etc. We all do it- the car is where I am most guilty. It's just that as adults we tend to be a little more private about it.
Being guilty of it ourselves means we can relate to what children, who don't yet know how control intense emotions, feel. That understanding is what is most helpful as we teach children to manage their feelings. One technique that is showing promise is mindfulness. Here are several books that teach mindfulness and meditation to young children.
Start your conversation about what it means to be mindful by reading What Does it Mean to Be Present? by Rana DiOrio and Eliza Wheeler. Ask your child to describe what they are experiencing as they listen to your read. What noises are around them? How does the floor or chair they are sitting on feel? Are they cold, hot, or just right? Are their shoulder relaxed and resting, or are they tight and drawn up?
Follow up on your discussion of being present with Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda by Lauren Alderfer and Kerry Lee MacLean. After reading this book take your child on a listening walk in the woods. Find a nice place to sit, close their eyes, and listen to the noises around them. Start with a very short time (30 seconds or so) and gradually make it longer on subsequent visits.
Create a mindful space in your home or classroom with, at least, one of these books. Add some rocks, a crystal, and pictures of clouds or calm water. Place it in a quiet area with a soft pillow and allow children to go there when they need a few minutes alone. It can be used when they are upset, but try not to associate it as a place they only go to when they are mad or sad, or use it as a consequence or punishment.
As always, I hope you enjoy these recommendations. Feel free to share with credit to Words Reflected and Kim Bogren Owen on Facebook, your website, or in your newsletter.
Please add your favorite book or activity about mindfulness and meditation in the comments!
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