How to explain mindfulness to kids



It’s actually really simple

How to explain mindfulness to kids


Perhaps because the roots of mindfulness practice are attributed mostly to the Eastern religious practice of Buddhism, people sometimes fear it involves complicated aspects, like rituals, texts, and prayers to memorize. It doesn’t. And for the record, mindfulness existed long before Buddhism, and is a part of many disciplines – religious, academic, athletic, artistic. Lucky for modern-day children, it’s even being incorporated into education.

Writing for Blissfulkids.com, Chris Bergstrom says he describes mindfulness to small kids as: “Noticing what is happening right now.

Perhaps you think you do that all the time. But if you look closer at your thoughts, you’ll likely find you’re mistaken. We spend a lot of time and energy thinking (and worrying) about the future, or we are obsessed with the past in terms of our regrets and remorse. We do things like tell stories nonstop and make judgments that take us away from the present moment. These habitual thought patterns – exacerbated by modern media – lead to lots of stress and distraction, as well as lessen our enjoyment of life as it is right now. Bergstrom and teachers like him aim to teach kids how to form different, more mindful habits.

READ MORE: Planting seeds: mindfulness for kids

He writes: “Mindfulness is taking notice of how your body feels and what you see, smell and taste. Maybe you even feel emotions in your body, perhaps through a tightness somewhere, or even a good sensation. Mindfulness is also noticing what your mind is doing.” Not only noticing what your mind is doing when it’s taken you away from the moment, but focusing on what’s actually happening in the moment, independent of your thoughts.

Bergstrom cites evidence that this kind of focus can help kids in many ways. “Improved focus can help them achieve at a higher levels in sports, school or music,” he says. “It will help them score higher on tests, too. We always do better when we’re able to pay attention to what we’re doing.”

Noticing what is happening around you and inside you can help you to calm down when you’re upset, mad, or anxious. Tough emotions can get the better of you, and really take you down, but mindfulness helps you deal with them by giving a sense of mastery over them.

Explaining mindfulness to teens is a little different. To them, he says, “mindfulness is about paying attention in a particular way – on purpose, in the present moment and without judgment.” He stresses how mindfulness practice enables one to be less reactive to stressors through paying closer attention to our thoughts, and, crucially, recognizing them as just that: thoughts.



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