Simple Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Young Children

March 15, 2018
Simple Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Young Children

Mindfulness exercises can help children to be aware of their surroundings and in touch with their feelings.

Here are some tips on how to encourage children to take in the moment.  

Listen to the bell.

An easy way for children to practice mindfulness is to focus on paying attention to what they can hear.

  • You can use a bell, bowl or a sound on your phone.
  • Tell your child that you will make the sound, and that they should listen carefully until they can no longer hear the sound (usually 30 seconds to a minute).
  • Have them tell you when they can’t hear the sound anymore.

Create a mindful bedtime ritual.

Practice with a breathing buddy.

  • Have your child lie down with a stuffed animal on their belly.
  • Practice taking deep breaths that move the stuffed animal up and down.
  • See if your child can lift the animal up to the ceiling, hold for 2 seconds and back down again.
  • Repeat 5-10 times and discuss how it felt to breathe deeply.

Take a “mindful” walk.

Notice things in the neighborhood that you haven’t seen or heard before.

  • Call out things you can see, hear or feel, and talk about why you may have missed them before.
  • Compare what you hear or see to what your child notices.
  • Talk about the silences and notice when they occur.

Give thanks for what you have.

Being present can help us all to appreciate and feel grateful for what we have.

  • Have your child share one thing they feel grateful for each day.  
  • Have everyone in the family participate and talk about what it means to appreciate what you already have.

Check your own weather.

Just like the weather outside, our moods change frequently.

  • Ask your child to imagine what kind of weather best describes how they are feeling (sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy).
  • Talk about how they may not be able to change the weather, but how they can change how they feel about the weather and prepare for it.
  • Read Sitting Still Like a Frog, by Eline Snel for more ideas like this one.

Practice mindful eating.

Engaging senses in a different way can help improve focus.

  • Try having your child eat just one bite (one raisin or one tiny square of chocolate) of food and describe what they notice.  
  • Ask them all about the different tastes they experience, the way the food feels inside their mouths and the ways their body works to chew and swallow the food.


For more ways to calm down, try making a Calm Down Jar.  Click here to see how the snow inspired us! And here for an easy recipe.


Exercises adapted from



Picture courtesy of