Story time -- Happy: A Beginner's Book of Mindfulness
Story Time includes bibliotherapy activities based on popular children's books that offer insight to help the reader grow in self understanding and resolve real life issues. Each story will be displayed in the office and also posted on our Instagram @kindredcollectivekids. A video of a read aloud version will also be posted on igtv so kids can follow along without the physical copy of the book.
This week's Story Time is based on the book “Happy: A Beginner's Book of Mindfulness” by
Nicole Edwards. “Happy” gently encourages children to explore their senses and discover their path to mindfulness. The story touches on some of the most important aspects of life such as feeling, touching, tasting, listening, smelling and discovering. Edwards does a great job of turning these everyday, mundane experiences into a soothing and poetic story.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being aware of what you are sensing or feeling in the moment. It is a great skill for kids to learn. Learning about mindfulness helps children to better understand and control their emotions and also find a better appreciation of their daily activities. Mindfulness also helps them to face daily challenges by teaching them to focus on the present moment. Studies have suggested that mindfulness can reduce the negative effects of stress, decrease anxiety, and increase one's ability to stay engaged.
Mindfulness is especially great for students who get stressed or overwhelmed easily. Sometimes children just need to slow down and feel so they are better suited to tackle their day-to-day tasks! By learning about mindfulness, children can be more equipped to overcome challenges and be happier!
Question Prompts for “Happy”
What are three words that describe you best?
What do you do that makes you feel the happiest?
What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you and what is the best thing that has ever happened to you?
What are you most grateful for?
What is one thing you want to improve on?
How can you help someone today?
How can you help yourself today to be happier tomorrow?
This week's activity is a mindfulness meditation for children from Mindfulness.org. This website is a fantastic resource that offers many activities to practice mindfulness for adults, children and families as a whole.
Lie down somewhere comfortable. Let your arms and legs fall to the ground. Close your eyes gently.
Start to notice how your body changes with each breath you take. Each time you breathe, your belly moves up, and your belly moves down. If it is easier, put a hand on your belly. Or if you want, put a stuffed animal there.
Each time you breathe, your belly moves. Your hand, or your toy, rises, and then falls. See if you can count ten breaths that way. Breathing in, one, breathing out, one.
When you lose count, don’t worry about it. That’s normal, and happens to everyone. Come back to whatever number you last remember.
Now, shift your attention to your day. Breathing in, focus on your breath as your belly goes up. Breathing out, focus on something that went well today.
With each breath: breathing in, noticing your belly move, and with each breath out, noticing something that went well today.
Now, picture something about yourself that makes you proud. Breathing in, focus on your belly moving. Breathing out, picture something that makes you proud of yourself. If nothing comes to mind, that sometimes happens. If that’s how you feel, picture what you’d wish for yourself instead.
Finally, bring someone to mind who makes you happy. Before we end, try one more practice. Breathing in, notice your belly move. And now, breathing out, picture someone who makes you happy.
As you come to the end of this practice, take a few deep breaths, and start to wiggle your arms and legs. Pause and decide what you’d like to do next.
It’s normal to have thoughts that make us feel scared or bad. We should never ignore anything important, but it’s useful to focus on the rest of our lives too. Take a few minutes every day to notice what has gone well, and see what happens next.