A free mindfulness for children exercise created by Elizabeth Mulhane
An exercise in mindfulness of feelings, thoughts and mental objects for young children
This free mindfulness for children exercise focuses on mindfulness of feelings, thoughts and mental objects – for young children and is best delivered, after you yourself have experienced it. So, before teaching this to the children please take the time to do the exercise yourself. When we teach from ‘insight’ we teach from a place of true knowledge and understanding.
When you look at this picture – where do you ‘feel’ your emotions and sensations?
For me, I feel emotion within my face the strongest (even within my eyes) . Then I notice the sensations flowing down my throat and into my stomach. And I feel sensations traveling through my arms and into my hands.
What automatic thoughts pop into your head?
For me, it’s things like ‘Awwwwww, way too cute’ and ‘one day you will be mine’
This image is powerful enough for just a sitting interacting group session. It’s is a really powerful exercise to promote conscious awareness of feelings (sensations and emotions), and thoughts. I asked the ‘questions’ to you (since I was wanting you to answer – within yourself). However, if you want the kids to just experience this session without answering – remember to use the word ‘notice’, rather than ask them questions (and guide them through the experience). For example, “Notice where you are feeling the joy……Notice how your emotion is making you smile…Notice where the sensations are occurring in your body…maybe you can feel sensations in your throat or arms or hands…. Notice what thoughts are popping into your mind“… (and give them a moment to experience each sensation, emotion or thought). Then they can share their thoughts as a group when quite reflection is over.
Teaching mental phenomena and the mind’s eye to young children
Printing out the picture and allowing each child to take longer to capture the image in their minds will also help you take the older ones to the next level (of understanding mental phenomena and their mind’s eye). That is, once the session is complete – ask them to close their eyes and see if they can recall, or see the imagine in their mind.
When they say ‘yes’, let them know, “We call these pictures in our minds ‘mental objects’ and we see them with our minds eye” (repeated sessions with different pictures will eventually have them remember the big words – you could also use the word – mental phenomena, or interchange them)…. Then you can say, “And we all have a lot of mental objects in our minds…and they also keep changing, rising up and going away again, keeping your eyes closed, put your hand up if you can also see an image of mum in your mind, or someone else you really love.”
Once most of them have their hands up (should only take a moment) you can say, “OK. everyone open your eyes and lets all share who we saw.” Allow each child to take turns sharing their experience.
Taking the exercise further…
“How about we try imagining holding the puppy in our hands. Cup your hands and see if you can imagine the puppy there. Notice how it makes your face feel. Think about whether you prefer to do this with your eyes open or closed“….give them time to experience this.
End the session with a chat about our imaginations. For example, “Our imaginations are so powerful. We are all so very creative. You are all so amazing and you all did so well with this mindfulness exercise. We can use our imagination to create lots of fun experiences – just like this one. And we can do this anytime we want to play in our imaginations. Who thinks this was a fun way to experience feeling good?” “Let’s try this again tomorrow…I will find another really great picture for us to use.”
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Teaching mindfulness to young children is an excellent way to give their the keys to successfully navigate their future. If you are a teacher or a parent please check out our internationally accredited mindfulness for children teacher training. This course has been specifically designed for childcare teachers. Through the 8 week part time course, teachers will learn how to confidently practice and teach mindfulness and various forms of meditation, in ways the children will really enjoy.
Here’s a few reviews from some of our qualified teachers
Amazing online course! I highly recommend doing it, Elizabeth has literally changed the way I educate and care for myself. I never would have thought a course could help so much with all aspects of my career and personally. The course is user friendly and so informative, I loved the flexibility of doing the course online and I refer back to the course notes consistently as they have so much information and links to refer too. If you have been thinking about doing a course to benefit children and yourself this is the one to do! – Cath Howard
I have recently completed the 8 week course. I found it covered a wide range of information to implement with children and to deepen my practice. Lots of support and so much knowledge gained. – Karen Power
This was a great course and I definitely recommend it. Elizabeth was approachable and available to discuss any questions or to talk through something that I needed clarification on. The course was informative and gave lots of suggestions and ideas for my practice with younger children. Thank you Elizabeth! – Zoe Casson
Really enjoyed this course learning how to take time and just be in the moment which I seriously lacked. Then to learn how to implement some fantastic mindfulness activities with my Kindergarten children has been very rewarding. – Lynda Goulding
I have recently completed the 8 week course. I found it full of information to implement with children and to deepen my practice. Elizabeth is extremely supportive throughout the whole process gently guiding and prompting. Elizabeth’s passion kindness and caring way is evident throughout the course she has embedded so much valuable content within it. Looking forward to implementing the 10 week program with my children. Absolutely brilliant thank you. – Cynthia Hoffman
I hope you enjoyed this blog and please get in touch if you would like to know more about our teacher training.
Elizabeth Mulhane B.PsychSci(Hons).
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Trivia: Buddha’s Kiss And The Shih Tzu’s White Spot
You may have noticed that some Shih Tzus have a white spot on their coat on top of their head. The legend of this spot goes all the way back to Buddha.The story goes that Buddha was walking along the road with his dog when several robbers came upon him. They intended to rob and murder him, but Buddha’s dog transformed into a lion and chased the robbers off.When the robbers were long gone, the lion changed back into his normal pup self, and Buddha picked him up and kissed him on the head. The place where Buddha kissed the pup turned white, and that’s where the Shih Tzu gets their spot.
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