Mindfulness is a wonderful practice that can bring awareness and attention to the present moment. In children this practice is especially beneficial as it provides children with tools to help them regulate their emotions, focus attention, facilitate empathy and compassion and increase happiness. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite books and resources that are wonderful for introducing and encouraging children to practice mindfulness.
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I’ve practiced mindfulness for several years now, but 2021 has been the year that I’ve dived deeper into learning more about mindfulness, expanded my own practice and recently completely mindfulness teacher training as well. I’m so excited to be able to share this absolutely amazing practice with so many people through practices and everyday ways that it can be integrated into their lives.
Why Should Kids Practice Mindfulness?
Practicing mindfulness with young children is a great skill that will serve children through a lifetime. Habits that are begun early in life will effect their behaviors through the rest of their life. Mindfulness is a practice that instills kindness, empathy, compassion, acceptance and peace. Mindfulness practices uses skills that are facilitated thru the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for focus and regulation. By flexing this muscle through mindfulness, these skills can be strength the neuropathways that are connected to attention, focus, self-control and judgement.
Mindfulness is a great practice to decrease stress and increase happiness through a child (and adults) lifetime. It teaches the importances of staying in the present moment without judgement or attachment which can be incredibly helpful as they move through the rollercoaster emotions and experiences of life. Mindfulness also allows them to get in better touch with their thoughts and emotions. With that greater understanding and awareness of how they are feeling, they can communicate more effectively, less-reactively, listen better and improve their interpersonal relationships and communication skills throughout their lifetime.
How Do Children Learn Mindfulness?
One of the best ways for children to learn mindfulness is through YOU! Children watch and mimic adults constantly. The best way to teach mindfulness is to model it with ourselves, our behaviors and personal mindfulness practice. I’ve shared some great ways to integrate mindfulness into your everyday routine here (on Zulily’s blog) and many of them can be applicable for children with a few tweaks.
I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite mindfulness books, tools and resources that are incredibly helpful and useful for teaching children mindfulness.
14 of the Best Mindfulness Books & Tools for Kids:
I Am Peace
From the bestselling team that created I Am Yoga, I Am Human, I Am Love, and I Am One comes a gentle expression of the tenets of mindfulness, encouraging children to breathe, taste, smell, and be present in the here and now.
Includes a guided meditation.
Alphabreaths: The ABCs of Mindful Breathing
In Alphabreaths, children will learn their ABCs and the basics of mindfulness through playful breathing exercises. Breaths like Mountain Breath and Redwood Breath will connect them with nature, while breaths like Heart Breath and Wish Breath will help them remember to fill their heart with gratitude and send good wishes to others.
Simple, playful, and with delightful illustrations, Alphabreaths is the perfect introduction to mindfulness and breath awareness.
I Can Do Hard Things: Mindful Affirmations for Kids
I Can Do Hard Things introduces children to the practice of using mindful affirmations for support and encouragement when they need it.
It reflects the beautiful diversity in our world.
I Can Do Hard Things is a perfect addition to your home or school social emotional library.
The Breathing Book
With The Breathing Book, young readers discover the power of mindful awareness through a series of breathing practices and engaging activities designed to calm the mind and body, set positive intentions, and spark creativity and imagination.
A book that’s much more than just a book, this interactive offering from Christopher Willard and Olivia Weisser invites readers to bring their full attention to the sights, sounds, and tactile sensations that arise as they explore the practices on each page with awareness.
With simple instructions and delightful illustrations, you’ll use your breath to bring this book to life by turning the pages … balancing the book on your head, hand, or belly … tracing shapes and labyrinths …“reframing” troubling thoughts and feelings … sending kind wishes to people and our planet … and many more activities that can be practiced again and again.
A Handful Of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles
Developed by Zen master, best selling author, and peace Nobel Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh A Handful of Quiet contains complete instructions for pebble meditation designed to involve children in a hands-on and creative way that touches on their interconnection with nature. Whether practiced alone or with the whole family, pebble meditation can help relieve stress, increase concentration, nourish gratitude, and can help children deal with difficult emotions.
My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing
From New York Times bestselling author Nick Ortner comes a beautiful picture book that will help children discover calm through the magic of mindful breathing. In a world that is sometimes too busy, with too many things going on, My Magic Breath will help steer children into a serene space of mindfulness, self-awareness, and balance.
ABC Mindful Me
A fun read for the entire family, ABC Mindful Me is not only perfect for teaching toddlers their ABCs, but also for introducing them to key mindfulness tenets which promote physical and mental wellness through breathing, compassion, gratitude, and kindness.
Sitting Still Like A Frog: Mindfulness Exercises For Kids
Simple mindfulness practices to help your child (ages 5-12) deal with anxiety, improve concentration, and handle difficult emotions—with a 60-minute audio CD of guided exercises read by Myla Kabat-Zinn.
Listening To My Body
Listening to my Body is an engaging and interactive book that guides children through the practice of naming their feelings and the physical sensations that accompany them. From wiggly and squirmy to rested and still, Listening to My Body helps children develop a sensations vocabulary so that they can express what they are experiencing. Includes kid-friendly mindfulness activities woven throughout the book to reinforce the teachings. Listening to My Body is a wonderful social-emotional tool for parents, counselors and teachers!
I Am Yoga
Renowned illustrator Peter H. Reynolds and author and certified yoga instructor Susan Verde team up again in this book about creativity and the power of self-expression. I Am Yoga encourages children to explore the world of yoga, mindfulness and make room in their hearts for the world beyond it.
Breathe Like A Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere
Breathe Like a Bear is a beautifully illustrated collection of mindfulness exercises designed to teach kids techniques for managing their bodies, breath, and emotions. Best of all, these 30 simple, short breathing practices and movements can be performed anytime, anywhere: in the car to the grocery store, during heavy homework nights at home, or even at a child’s desk at school.
Mindfulness Tools for Kids:
Mindful Moments: Guided Exercises and Mantras for Kids
Designed to introduce kids to mindfulness in an interactive way, Mindful Moments helps children discover new ways to breathe, move, and use their senses to explore. The everyday mindfulness exercises and empowering mantras inside aim to increase emotional intelligence, improve focus, build resilience, reduce anxiety, and help children feel more calm and connected to the world around them.
Easy to incorporate into a calming bedtime routine or as a way to help ground you child after a long day, children will benefit from daily use of this mindfulness for kids card deck. Purchase here.
Mindfulness Journal For Kids
This mindfulness journal is all about mindfulness for kids; it’s full of writing prompts, easy exercises, and powerful quotes to make it easy and fun for kids to practice mindfulness all the time.
Mindful Maze Boards
These maze boards are a great sensory exercises for calming and refocusing while enforcing mindfulness practices. The finger tracing is great for connecting and pacing out their breath. Mindful Mazes comes with three double-sided mindful maze boards.