Today was a great start to another term of Mindful Minis. The theme for this term is Mindful Me. In each lesson the children will explore ways in which they can practise mindfulness in their daily lives – at home, at school, in the park, in the car, anywhere! Over the term they will build up a mindfulness tool bag of techniques that can help them self-regulate so that they are better able to respond consciously to challenging situations instead of reacting instinctively.
This week we looked at how mindfulness can help us to better understand how we feel. With the younger children, we played the wonderful game “Monkey Expressions” from Chalk and Chuckles. It is a great day to help pre-schoolers start to understand different feelings. The younger children were then introduced to the Mindful Owl and how he can help when things get a bit overwhelming.
With the older children, we practised taking deep breaths and noticing what was happening inside our bodies. The children paid attention to their heart rates, their breathing, any stiffness in their bodies, any aches and pains such as a sore stomach. The children simply had an opportunity stop and observe what they felt in the body.
Understanding the physical manifestation of an emotion in the body and how it affects the body is important in understanding the emotion. A child might not always be able to name the feeling and identify that they are feeling anxious but they will always be able to tell you that they have a sore stomach or that they feel like they can’t breathe and that their heart is beating very fast.
The children then had an opportunity to create a Feelings Pie Chart. Big slices of pie for feelings they often feel and small slices of pie for feelings they only sometimes feel. This is a fun way to help a child start understanding their feelings.
I asked the older children to try out their mindful breathing at home. To try it when they start to feel some big emotions coming to the fore, such as anger or huge excitement or intense frustration. I reassured them not to think about what they are feeling or try to name it, but rather simply to focus on how their body feels. To focus on the physical manifestation of the emotion in the body. To simply notice and observe.
Next week we will continue to build on mindfulness tools to use in daily life.