4 Resources for Empowering Kids Through Mindfulness and Gratitude
Especially in this time of uncertainty and social distancing, kids are dealing with big feelings. They often don’t know how to express their anxieties and worries in productive ways. Teaching self-awareness for kids is just as important to their health as teaching them hygeine and safety.
Writing for Positive Thinking
Journaling is a wonderful tool for reflection and organizing your thoughts. Today Is Great!: A Daily Gratitude Journal for Kids offers just that, plus a focus on positive thinking. Finding things to be thankful for can lead to happier and more hopeful thinking. This journal for kids provides colorful pages with writing prompts and daily gratitude lists for boys and girls. There are also inspiring quotes to motivate and possibly inspire more writing.
Today is Great has short writing sections, so especially for younger kids or reluctant writers, the task doesn’t feel overwhelming. The prompts are fun and make useful conversation starters for parents to get to know their kids better. Features: space for a new entry every day for an entire year, weekly questions and quotes, and gratitude “challenges” that feature hands-on tasks. Recommended especially for kids in older elementary through middle school age.
Self-Awareness for Kids is a Basic Skill to Learn
Every child, and adult for that matter, needs to understand and accept their feelings and emotions. I think this aspect of our health is as important as understanding our bodies.
Acknowledging the importance of learning how to stay in control and accept that emotions and feelings are normal parts of us is an empowering thing. Me and My Feelings: A Kids’ Guide to Understanding and Expressing Themselves is a fantastic book for kids that teaches them how to handle big feelings and how to accept that they are part of life. This book includes tons of ideas, exercizes, quizzes, and activities to help readers get to know themselves better.
Do you know the difference between emotions and feelings? How about what to do when you are feeling mixed emotions? The author uses conversational language, clear explanations, and reader-friendly tools like bullet-points and interactive illustrations to make this book engaging.
Me and My Feelings is a must-have, and should be part of any parent or caregiver’s library of “body” books. Features: 30+ exercises, tips, and quizzes. Recommended for ages 7-10, but older kids can benefit from it, too.
Mindful Games For Kids: 50 Fun Activities to Stay Present, Improve Concentration, and Understand Emotions teaches kids skills for listening to their bodies, feeling ‘in control,’ and being present.
Through fifty illustrated exercises, kids learn breathing techniques, visualization, and meditation. Best of all, each of these excercises is made into a game to keep them kid-friendly, fun, and engaging. Kids learn to practice deep breathing by having a small toy (or stone) ‘surf’ on their bellies.
Other games involve active movement, like Feelings Hide-and-Seek and Outside Adventure. Most games are quiet and reflective, but some require a few items from around the house. Overall, this book will provide hours of activities for kids and families, especially useful during times of stress. Features: 50 games, activities involving multiple senses, and activities to complete alone or with other people. Recommended for ages 4-8.
Little Ones Need Coping Skills, Too!
For the preschool child, Mindfulness for Little Ones: Playful Activities to Foster Empathy, Self-Awareness, and Joy in Kids shows that it is never too soon to start teaching healthy coping skills. This book contains activities like sensory play, dance, exercise, simple crafts, relaxation, and nature exploration.
Each activitiy includes a reference at the top of the page, which gives you the messiness factor, prep time, and activity time. There are materials lists and clear steps for each activity, along with ‘swap’ ideas if you want to adapt anything for your child’s specific age, likes, and dislikes. These ideas are perfect for any parent or caregiver to implement, but as a homeschooler, I find them to be perfect for ‘morning basket’ time.
One of our favorites is the ‘Animal Caretaker’ activity, that even toddlers can participate in. And the ‘Belly Buddies’ idea is a simple, yet genius way to help little ones learn to calm themselves. Features include playful activities that engage the senses, ideas for parents and caregivers to model mindfulness themselves, and activities grouped by themes. Recommended for preschoolers ages 2-5.
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