Back to School Mindfulness

zach at workMy son started at his new school today. It wasn’t class. Just a short meeting with his academic advisor and a chance to set up his new locker, but his nervous energy was out of control. While we sat waiting for our turn to meet with his teacher, his legs bounced up and down as he told me over and over again how nervous he was – excited, but nervous.

“Aha!” I thought. “Here’s a chance to put some of that Zen Under Ten stuff into action.” So I quietly suggested that he take three mindful breaths and then bring his attention to all the sensations around him in that moment. I asked him to notice the robin’s egg brilliance of the cloudless sky above us, the rumble of the school buses dropping off the upper school students, the warmth of the late summer sun on our faces. . . After a few moments he leaned into me with a slight shove, not hard enough to be rude, but strong enough to let me know that I needed to stop with the mindfulness because someone might notice what we were doing (although I’m not really sure what they would have noticed other than two people sitting on a bench in the sun occasionally sharing a few whispered words, which seemed like no big deal to me, but, then again, I wasn’t the middle schooler having first day jitters). But it was all good (as it usually is), because, as I pointed out to him, our mindful moment together had already done its job. His legs were still, his voice was calm, and he was ready to go in and learn about his new school, comporting himself as the smart, strong, capable young man I know him to be.

Back to school is a stressful time for most kids, and let’s be honest, most parents too. So don’t miss this opportunity to remind your children and teens that mindful moments are always available to help them feel centered, calm and self-confident, especially in new situations.

Mindful breathing is a great tool to use anytime, anywhere.

As is the practice I did with my son – five senses mindfulness.

You can also help your child create a mindful reminder that they can bring to school and keep at hand when they need a way to re-connect with their best, most-confident self.

And if they come home super-stressed and unhappy after one of those no-good, terrible, awful school days (we’ve all had a few of those) try peace jar practice to help them settle down all those strong, negative feelings.

And don’t forget to talk to your children about their experience, and, more importantly, to really listen. Because the best mindful moments are those we spend paying attention to the ones we love.

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If you liked this, you might also like:

Get Ready for Homework with a Game of “Homework HA!”

5 Tips for Raising More Resilient Kids

Teaching Your Kids How to Surf Their Way Through Stress

 

1 comment to Back to School Mindfulness

  • Catherine K

    At some point I had book marked your website and just stumbled onto it again- so pleased!!!
    I teach 3rd grade in a public school where demands to ‘keep up with the curriculum’ and to provide ‘data’ to prove student growth create a frantic dance for teachers and students. Summer is a time to reflect and reevaluate challenges and my response to them. Thank Goodness!
    I’ve used mindfulness and mindful breathing with my students- sometimes as a whole class to focus before writing, sometimes as a brain break between activities. I’ve also used mindful breathing to help individual students to relieve stress when overloaded with sensory input or emotions. Reading your articles has reminded me of the importance of integrating this into my practice. I love the work that you are doing. Thank you.

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