Mindful Minis is a space for children aged 5 – 11 to learn and practise the art of mindfulness through child-friendly, fun exercises.
The classes usually start with a breath awareness exercise. Often immediate calm can be felt in the body when we focus on our breathing; when we pay focused attention to the in-breath and the out-breath.
Breath awareness is a wonderful tool for children to use in their daily lives. I often suggest to the kids that this is something they can save in their “mindfulness tool bag”, with the best part being that their breath is always with them. I get a lot of giggles and laughs when I suggest that one day they might arrive at school and say “Oh no! I left my breath at home on the kitchen table this morning. I forgot to put it in my bag!” Wherever we go, our breath is there with us; available to us.
I also try to include some mindful movement in each class. This can be in the form of mindful walking, yoga or chi gong. But any movement can be made mindful, if it is slowed down enough and awareness is placed solely on the body and what can be felt internally. Mindful movement is not about becoming fitter or more flexible or about getting into the “perfect” pose. It is about deepening the connection to the body to improve body awareness. It is about letting go of the logical brain and moving into the felt portion of the brain. It is about noticing the body, listening to the body, accepting the body and appreciating the body.
Guided Visualisations and Meditations
Most of the classes include a guided visualisation or guided meditation. The children love to use the fluffy blankets and weighted blankets that I have available in the studio. The weighted blankets especially help the children to let go and relax just that little bit more. This is often the part of the lesson that the children look forward to the most. A time when they can simply rest, relax and find the calm within.
Mindful artwork is also a component of many of the classes. Mindful artwork differs from traditional artwork in that the focus is on the process, rather than the end result. Often there is no end result. No glue. No permanence. Nothing to take home. This can be challenging for some children but a great lesson in non-attachment! The process of creating still offers the child a wonderful channel for self-expression.
With older children, I often combine journaling with the mindful artwork. It can be a helpful way for a child to further explore and make sense of their feelings. I always assure the children that there is no right or wrong when it comes to journaling. There are no rules. So if a child wants to draw or doodle in their journal instead of writing, that is absolutely fine! Drawing the feeling out can sometimes help to make sense of it while the words are still forming.
Some lessons may include affirmations: another powerful tool for a child to add to their “mindfulness tool bag”. Affirmations help build a child’s self-confidence and self-worth. They can be in the form of a repeated mantra such as:
I am kind.
I am calm.
I am healthy and strong.
I am important.The Mindful Minis Mantra
Or affirmations can be incorporated as an art activity:
Mindful Fun Exercises
And of course, there are the exercises that are just plain mindful fun! Smell tests, taste tests, jumping mat, pom pom toes, mexican wave with toes, hula hoop fun and much more…