The Chill Skill: mindfulness techniques for the very young
Published on 1st February 2021
Mindfulness means that we are mindful or aware of our present moment, that our minds are focused on the here and now. This can help lessen our worries about what happened yesterday, or what may happen tomorrow, because our attention and focus is in the present.
At the moment it’s important for us to get at least thirty minutes of exercise a day. This might be going out to kick a ball around for a while, getting out on your bike for a cycle, or going for a nice walk. We’ll use going for a walk as our example.
It’s pretty chilly out there at the moment, so remember to wrap up warm. So while you’re heading out for your bit of a ramble I want you to pay attention to what you see and what you hear. If you’re in the local park, for example, you can pick out five things that you see. It might be the fallen leaves on the ground, the birds flying in the sky, the guys kicking a ball about on the other side of the park, the lady passing by on her bicycle, the clouds up above. Whatever it may be, the idea is to bring our focus and attention to the present and what is happening around us.
Now I want you to listen, what can you hear? Maybe the sound of the passing traffic, those seagulls up there squawking away, the sound of a ball being kicked, the wind passing by your ear, again whatever it is that may be around you.
Now I want you to feel. Feel the ground under your feet as you walk, how your toes feel in your socks, feel how your hands feel in your gloves, feel how the breeze feels on your cheeks and your nose. Again this helps to bring our minds to the present moment, and can help lessen what we may be worrying about.
Another short exercise we may be able to try, this time at home, is to help our Mam and Dad to do the dishes. I know crazy, right? But we can practice mindfulness even while doing the washing up. Again all the idea is to bring our attention to the present moment.
We can listen to how the water sounds filling the sink. Feel how our feet feel on the floor. Feel how the suds feel on our hands as we move them through the water. We can smell the washing up liquid, is it that lemon one Dad always buys. We can listen to the clinks of the plates in the sink, the sound of the TV from the next room.
Again we are just bringing our attention to our present and what we are experiencing in that moment.
Also to go along with our mindfulness exercises, we might do a little bit of meditation. This can help us take a little bit of a break for ourselves, and calm our minds. And it’s easy to do. Just find a quiet spot in the house. Settle yourself down and get comfy. All we’re going to do is focus on our breath. We’re going to close our eyes, and take a breath in through our nose, then back out again through our nose.
We’re going to bring our attention and focus to the air going in, and then back out again. Anytime something pops into our minds, we’re going to let that thought go and bring our attention back to our breath.
We breathe in, we feel the air is cool, breathe back out it’s slightly warmer again. We breathe in, our bellies rise up, breathe out our bellies fall again.
We’ll do this for a few moments, and again, anytime we might drift off and start thinking about something, we’ll let that thought go and bring our focus back to our breath.
Submitted by Michael in Dolphin's Barn library.
Here is a video to accompany that great advice from Chris in Kevin Street library, The Chill Skill by Niall Breslin, published by Gill Publishing. The Chill Skill is one of an excellent series of books by Niall Breslin that teach mindfulness techniques to the very young and are perfect to help our youngest readers navigate their emotions. More mindfulness books for kids.
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