What is mindfulness? Annie & Rocco describe mindfulness as “paying attention,” and explore ways that you can be mindful about the things you say, the things you do and the things you think.
Rocco is NOT so mindful with his language. In admiration, he tells a friend his shirt looks like the color of a booger. While Rocco has the best of intentions (he has a strong fascination for boogers), he isn’t mindful about how his comment may be taken as an insult. He may not be aware that some people aren’t fond of boogers.
Annie is NOT so mindful with her actions. She refuses to go to sleep at midnight because she hasn’t finished her homework. Her intentions are great, but it’s important to be aware that sleep is very important. While she may not finish her homework and experience negative consequences in the form of a bad grade, the consequences of not getting any sleep may impact her health.
Annie & Rocco demonstrate an exercise called “Mind in a Jar” to understand how stress and anxiety can impact your thoughts and learn how meditation and belly breathing can help settle your mind, creating an experience in which we are mindful about our thoughts.
We found this exercise in the book Planting Seeds, Practicing Mindfulness with Children, by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Community. A jar of water represents our mind. Different colors of sand represent our thoughts. Throughout the day, we fill our mind with many different feelings and thoughts. The colors of sand are stirred to demonstrate how our all of thoughts can be “stirred up” when we are feeling anxious or stressed. When we meditate and practice belly breathing, we stop stirring the sand and the sand, which represents our thoughts, begins to settle at the bottom of the jar. They are still there, resting peacefully.
Annie & Rocco practice belly breathing, in three cycles, with the sound of a crystal bowl in the key of “E” while watching the sand settle to the bottom. Children are instructed to fill the belly with air as you inhale, creating expansion and allowing the belly to flatten on the exhale.
We can practice belly breathing any time we are feeling uneasy to settle our thoughts and practice mindfulness. Paying attention to our thoughts, allowing them to settle on a daily basis can also help us be mindful with our language and actions.
Share our mindfulness video to teach your kids about mindfulness and meditation and practice together!