Decreasing stress and increasing self-awareness in school
Teaching mindfulness in the classroom is an important part of social-emotional learning and character education. Does your classroom feel chaotic? Do your students seem overwhelmed and unable to maintain attention? Empower your students by teaching mindfulness!
I often cover being mindful in my lessons, I use this Character Education: Mindfulness resource that includes everything you need for teaching mindfulness in your classroom. Looking for more ideas on how to teach Mindfulness in the classroom? Check out this blog post on Children’s books that teach Mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is paying attention to your body, your thoughts and feelings, and what is happening around you. Essentially, it is emotional awareness.
When there is high stress or a lack of self-awareness in a classroom, the atmosphere often feels all topsy-turvy🤪. We know we need to get our students back into focus, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to really do this when we are in the moment.
When it comes down to it, we teach mindfulness in the classroom by modeling and leading students in techniques to help calm themselves.
Some examples of mindfulness strategies include:
- Deep breathing
- Guided imagery
- Sensory experiences
- Coping strategies
- Moments of gratitude
- Calm corner in the classroom
Why teach Mindfulness?
There are so many benefits to teaching mindfulness to students (and using it yourself as the teacher!)
It’s a lifelong skill, which is why it’s SO important for us to address with students at a young age. We have the capability to develop positive stress management techniques and self-awareness in our students before they are adults.👏🏼
Mindfulness techniques can help students with transitions throughout the day. For some students, transitions are challenging when they are unexpected. For other students, transitions are difficult when they are unregulated from being overtired or participating in one task for too long.
Fights and melt-downs
These strategies are also helpful to de-escalate fights and stop meltdowns. Visually modeling strategies like intentional deep breathing can help students choose mindfulness when they feel overwhelmed.
Help students establish coping skills by turning challenging behaviors into opportunities for learning, aka growth mindset! Using mindfulness techniques can help students learn to control their shifting attention and manage increasing stress in unpreferred classroom tasks.
When students are equipped with proper techniques for emotional awareness and have opportunities to practice them (without consequences for not being 100% perfect), you will often find that your classroom environment begins to morph from chaos to peace and calm. We all want that, right?!🤩🧘🏻♂️
Use premade resources
This Character Education: Mindfulness resource is one of my favorite resources to use to teach emotional awareness in the classroom. It is perfect for online or in-person lessons.
Teach students what it means to be mindful, by practicing deep breathing, yoga poses, guided imagery, sensory experiences, and more. Bulletin board posters are included in this set for easy-to-reference visuals for students.
You can also find mindfulness in my Character Education Vol. 1 Bundle, along with activities for 9 other character traits like kindness and courage.
Books & videos about mindfulness
Read alouds are a wonderful way to incorporate teaching mindfulness in the classroom. Check out this blog post about Children’s books that teach Mindfulness. Here are a few highlights of my favorites:
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In I Am Peace, a young boy tries to settle the anxious thoughts in his mind. When his mind clears, he begins letting things go, sharing kindness with others, and watching the clouds roll by. Once he practices these mindfulness techniques, he feels peaceful. In turn, the young boy is able to share his peace with others.
A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh
During a retreat in Santa Barbara, Tich Nhat Hanh developed a meditation technique specifically designed for children and their families. This simple practice involves using four pebbles to focus children’s energy and help them connect with nature. Hanh hopes that children can eventually do this practice on their own.
Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere by Kira Willey
With 30 guided breathing and meditation techniques, Breathe Like a Bear gives children effective ways to feel calm and connected. This book is an easy way to bring mindfulness to your classroom, with no prep work!
Check out this 5 minute video to practice mindfulness in the classroom with students. The Body Scanner! Mindfulness for Children
Use this short video to practice deep breathing. Candle and Flower Breathing – Mindful and Calming Breathing Technique
Teaching mindfulness can be an easy thing to do! I’m sure the atmosphere of your classroom will change (for the better!) as you incorporate some of these into your school day.
Oh yeah, check out my post about How to set up a Calm Corner in your Classroom and get more book ideas here!🧘🏽
More from the Character Education Series
Character Education: Responsibility
Character Education: Cooperation
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