(Written with Marjorie Wild)
As the new school year approaches, we want to share some of our favorite SEL strategies for starting off strong. Social emotional learning is a sturdy foundation on which children's success in learning - and in life - is built.
We hope you find our tips helpful as school starts, or at any time of the year!
1. Find your inner calm!
Calm may not be the word that comes to mind when thinking of a classroom of young children, especially in the first days of school!
Practicing your own self-regulation skills to keep calm during times of stress will help you be better able to help your children feel safe.
Modeling the strategies you use to calm yourself and self-regulate not only helps you, it also supports young children as they begin to learn these important skills for themselves.
Below are just a few ideas to try. For more mindfulness activities, see our previous blog posts.
Help children learn breathing exercises to calm themselves, and be mindful of your own breathing. When your body or a situation tells you, “I need to take a breath,” try "box breathing": Step 1: Breathe in counting to four slowly. Feel the air enter your lungs. Step 2: Hold your breath for 4 seconds. Try to avoid inhaling or exhaling for 4 seconds. Step 3: Slowly exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds. Step 4: Repeat steps 1 to 3 until you feel re-centered.
-Take a brain break with the children by leading a movement activity aimed at calming -Take a walk outside (either on a break, or with children during outdoor play) -Practice simple stretches (like reaching for the sky, touching your toes, arm or neck circles).
Have a touchstone, a physical object that reminds you of being centered. It can be a piece of jewelry that you wear, a family photo, or written words that serve as a reminder of core values, or a goal. For a child, it may be a comfort item (like eepworm!) or words of re-assurance such as, “You are safe. You can handle this. I am here to help you.”
How do you find your calmness in stressful situations? Please comment below!
2. Begin by creating connections with children
Here are some ways to make connections with each of your children at the beginning of the day. Do what works for you and the children you care for. If children enter the room from a hallway, greet children as they enter. While there are charts available with greeting choices, it may be best to make or modify your own. Limit choices and have children give input as to their favorites to include. Choices can be changed or added over time. Choices can include:
After the morning greetings, create opportunities to connect with each child throughout the day by playing connecting games with them. For ideas for connecting activities with children, see our previous blog posts. We also highly recommend Dr. Becky Bailey’s book, I Love You Rituals.
3. Help children connect with friends!
Imagine how young children feel when they will be going to a new class or school, especially if the experience is totally new for them! We can help children adjust to these new situations by including activities that strengthen peer relationships and nurture important social-emotional skills.
Here are some of our favorite ways to help children get to know new friends at school:
-Make a class book with pages picturing every student. Children love recognizing and naming classmates.
-Practice name games, like singing, “My name is Miss Marjorie.” Children echo, singing back, “Her name is Miss Marjorie.” Continue with everyone’s name.
-Help children make friends through stories.
“Meesha Makes Friends” is a book by Tom Percival, author of the Big, Bright Feelings book series. In the beginning of the story, Meesha is happy to “make friends” out of paper and craft materials, but not as comfortable talking to other children. Sharing this book can open a discussion with preschoolers: “How did Meesha “make a friend”? How do you make friends?” Children can also “make a friend” like Meesha and Josh in art!
-Guide children through role playing. “What do you say when you want to play with someone else? When you want a turn to play? When you need help? When someone asks you if they can play with you? How do you feel when someone shares a toy with you or gives you a turn?”
How do you “coach” children through making friends with classmates? Share with us your favorite name game or connecting activity!
4. Help children meet all the adults in their school family
When we talk about the school family, we are referring to children and those who support and care for them, providing a safe and supportive place in which they can grow and learn.
We can help children feel safe by introducing them to all the adults who work in their school or child care program. We can provide opportunities for the children to connect with each adult, not only at the beginning of the school year but throughout the months. If we notice and point out the adults contributions, the children will begin to do the same.
Here are a few ideas that may to reinforce these connections and the children's sense of appreciation:
-Make a book of the people at school, explaining everyone’s jobs and emphasizing that they are all a valuable part of the school family.
-Help children show appreciation for all the people who take care of them at school. Assist them in drawing or writing notes of thanks, especially when school family members do something above and beyond their duties.
5. Make the most of your morning routines - before and during school
Mornings can be hectic for families at home, in the car, and at drop-off, especially at the beginning a new school year! Take a deep breath and guide your children to school or child care by sending the calming message that ``It's gonna be a good day!”
Try to keep the before-school morning routine as consistent as possible. As you dress or prepare for the day, talk through any special activities your children can look forward to, like telling them that you packed their favorite snack!
Connecting games can be incorporated into the morning drive. Sing favorite songs together or look for familiar places along the way.
At school, share a hug or handshake that is special to you and your children. If possible, walk your child to their teacher or caregiver.
If your child is upset at your leaving, show compassion, focus on safety and provide a connection before you leave. You may say, “I see you are feeling scared that I am leaving. You are safe here at preschool, and your teachers will keep you safe and help you learn and play today!” Let’s take a big breath and say “Have a great day!”
At school, teachers and caregivers can begin the day with consistent routines. For young children, a familiar “Good Morning” song can be an opportunity to individually greet and connect with teachers and other children.
Keeping the daily schedule as predictable as possible helps calm the children's uncertainties as to what is going to happen. Posting a picture schedule and reviewing it during every transition can ease children into the school routine until it becomes familiar.
6. Set goals and take action on them every day
The beginning of a new school year is a good time to set goals. For myself, I find setting goals much easier than accomplishing them!
If you struggle with taking action toward your goals as I do, perhaps you can try what I'm trying: start with small steps. I got this idea from a book I recently read, Atomic Habits by James Clear. Another piece of valuable info in the book is this: the best way to change a habit is to focus on the person you want to become. So I’ve started telling myself, “I’m the kind of person who…”
Here are some of my personal examples:
-I’m the kind of person who follows through in a timely fashion when I say I will do something.
-I’m the kind of person who completes projects I start
-I’m the kind of person who reaches out to help others
NOTE: I don’t have any of these identities yet! But I want to be the kind of person who does those things - and much, much more. And I’m finding James Clear’s idea of focusing on identity to be a helpful way to start. I hope it will be helpful for you, too.
Here are some identity ideas to get you started, based on my 4 C’s Framework of Emotional Support.
Perhaps you would like to be:
-a connected teacher, who builds strong, caring relationships with each and every child
-a calm teacher, who uses deep breathing and other stress relief strategies regularly as part of your self-care
-a compassionate teacher, who is empathetic toward all your children, especially the challenging ones
For more info about these 3 C’s and the 4th C as well (Capacity-Building of Self-Regulation), see my blog posts from May and June of this year
We hope you found some of these ideas helpful. Please share your own if you are willing.
All of us at ECS are wishing you a wonderful school year!
(Written with Marjorie Wild)
This month, we want to share some ideas for activities you can use in your classroom and home this summer - or any time of the year! We hope you enjoy these ideas for outdoor play, early literacy, art, science, and gender-neutral environments and toys. Please comment to share your own favorite teaching tips or activity ideas - there are so many wonderful ways for children to learn through play!
Here are some ideas for exploring the outdoors with young children:
*Note: The safety of young children is our responsibility as caregivers. While you should be watchful not to knowingly expose children to danger, that does not mean clearing the path so they never have the chance to explore environments, test their own abilities or judge their own level of risk within a safe and supervised setting.
Summer is the perfect time to give children the chance to read or be read to for fun and information. Visit your library to find books about a topic your children enjoy or that features their favorite characters. Check out a book that is beyond your children’s ability to read on their own and read it to them. Set aside time during your summer schedule for “read to me time”. Attend library programs, or read a book at naptime or bedtime. Reading to your child instills a love of language and the understanding that what we say can be written, what we write can then be read. It also builds connections between reader and child!
Public libraries across the country have summer reading programs and incentives for all ages, even grown-ups! Visit your local public library to find out more about what they offer, or you can provide your own reward at home when a reading goal has been met.
Share the power of reading with children:
Open-ended, creative art experiences emphasize process over product. Through these experiences, children explore materials instead of being told “how to do it” or what color something “should” be.
Some process-focused art materials and activities to explore with young children include:
For more information, we recommend “How Process-Focused Art Experiences Support Preschoolers” https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/tyc/feb2014/process-art-experiences
There are so many science activities you can enjoy both indoors and outdoors! Besides the activities you provide in the science center in your classroom, you may want to provide these outdoor explorations as well:
Sand and dirt:
Water, clouds and rainbows:
While we as early childhood educators and parents may strive to make our classrooms and play areas places where boys and girls are equally encouraged to explore their own interests, we know that many social traditions as well as marketing and packaging are aimed at boys or girls. At ECS our team has always supported play that is child-led, not directed by an adult to be gender specific.
Here are some ideas for fostering gender neutral play environments:
Notes from Marjorie: The “housekeeping/dramatic play” area of my classroom was always just as popular with boys! They took care of baby dolls, cooked, counted play money from wallets, and enjoyed seasonal activities like raking colorful (fake) leaves.
Teachable moments when children are at play give us opportunities to encourage children’s play choices, like, “Rufus is doing a great job feeding the baby!” or “Look at the bridge Ava built with blocks!” Encouraging everyone equally provides the example for all to encourage one another and themselves!
If a boy says he wants to be a mommy, he can pretend that role in dramatic play, dress-up, or play with people figures or dolls. If a child insists, “Boys can’t be mommies!”, talk about boys and men who also take care of babies and kids when they are daddies, brothers, teachers, doctors or nurses.
Play is the means through which children learn, and toys are the tools we give them to accomplish that job. What toys can best help? To help answer that question related to gender roles, NAEYC asked a researcher about her work on gender-typed toys:
“In general the toys most associated with boys were related to fighting or aggression (wrestlers, soldiers, guns, etc.), and the toys most associated with girls were related to appearance (Barbie dolls and accessories, ballerina costumes, makeup, jewelry, etc.)."
"The toys rated as most likely to be educational and to develop children’s physical, cognitive, artistic, and other skills were typically categorized as neutral or moderately masculine. We concluded that strongly gender-typed toys appear to be less supportive of optimal development than neutral or moderately gender-typed toys.”
Her advice for parents and teachers:
“Strongly gender-typed toys might encourage attributes that aren’t ones you actually want to foster. For girls, this would include a focus on attractiveness and appearance, perhaps leading to a message that this is the most important thing—to look pretty. For boys, the emphasis on violence and aggression (weapons, fighting, and aggression) might be less than desirable in the long run."
"Also, moderately masculine toys have many positive qualities (spatial skills, science, building things, etc.) that parents might want to encourage in both boys and girls. It is the same for some moderately feminine toys (nurturance, care for infants, developing skills in cooking and housework).”
For the full interview, see "What the Research Says: Gender-Typed Toys"
This doesn’t mean you should toss out your children’s favorite toys! Just be aware of the play opportunities those toys provide. Strive for a balance of toys led by the children’s interests, their developmental levels, appropriate safety, and whether those toys will provide opportunities for learning!
We hope you got some new ideas for activities to help children learn through play. Let us know your favorites so we and others can learn from you!
The 4 C's Framework of Emotional Support
The 4th C: Capacity-Building of Self-Regulation
Many of the developmentally appropriate practices we use in the early childhood classroom help to build children's capacity for self-regulation. Strengthening relationships, teaching self-regulation and social skills, helping children to learn about feelings, and modeling self-regulation skills are ways to provide capacity-building strategies. In addition, sometimes we need to adjust our expectations of individual children's behaviors, accommodating possible developmental delays in executive functioning or self-regulation skills. Sometimes we may also need to adjust the environment, providing supports that make it more likely that children can navigate challenging situations. We do this when we ensure our environments are developmentally appropriate for all our children. It's helpful to include: predictable schedules with adequate warnings before transitions; a self-regulation or calming space where children can go to settle themselves down; and a variety of soothing sensory activities (5).
Let's look more closely at seven strategies for building children's capacity for self-regulation.
2. TEACH Self-Regulation Skills
Just as with other concepts and skills, we can scaffold our instruction of self-regulation and social skills. We can be specific on what it means to take turns or which words to use in which situation. We can coach the children (include all those involved in the situation), walking them through the behaviors you are teaching. Later, we can provide prompts or visual cues to remind them of the expectations and provide encouragement for their efforts. Of course, they'll also need lots of practice!
3. MODEL Appropriate Behavior
4. Provide STRUCTURE and Predictability
5. Play GAMES that Help Children To Stop and Think
Children who are delayed in the skill of flexibility likewise need our support to accommodate their needs. These children need extra warnings before transitions that help them plan for the next activity, especially when transitioning from something fun to something that's not so fun. When we break the tasks down into smaller steps, we can help children get successfully through the change in activities. Here's an example:
6. Adjust your E's- Your EXPECTATIONS and the ENVIRONMENT
So we must accommodate these children's developmental delays in self-regulation. We may need to adjust our expectations of these children's ability to follow directions, take turns, stay on task, and other self-regulation skills. As an example, perhaps they can leave circle time sooner, or at least take a break or have a fidget toy or wiggle cushion to help them move while listening.
Secondly, sometimes we need to adjust the environment. Children with sensory processing problems often become overwhelmed by sensory input, that is, by the sounds, lights, smell, and touches they experience in the environment. So we may need to accommodate these hypersensitive children by adjusting the sound and light level, providing more comforting, enclosed spaces and including a greater variety of sensory activities and materials in our classrooms. Using visual cues such as picture schedules may also be helpful. (See resource 7 for examples.)
7. Help Children REFLECT on their Feelings and Learn to CALM Themselves
There are many books that help children reflect on their feelings and the feelings of others. Be sure to check out our own eepworm books and toys! When reading with children, talk about the emotions the characters experience and how to recognize them.
As mentioned before, we can teach children calming techniques such as deep breathing and other mindfulness practices to help children learn to calm themselves. We can also provide a self-regulation center or calming space so children can practice these techniques when they get upset. This is good for all children, not just the ones who have difficulty with self-regulation. (See our blog posts on mindfulness and resource 7 for activities for children.)
I hope you've gained some strategies that help you build children's capacity for self-regulation. Let me know which ones work best for you. Any additional tips are welcome as well - we can all learn from one another!
References & Resources
When young children are upset, they usually need help from adults to calm down. And the more upset they are, the more help they need!
When children are distressed, acting out, or having a tantrum or a meltdown, they don't often know what to do. Sometime as adults we don't know what to do, either! We may try distraction ("Look at this book"), reassurance ("You're okay"), questioning ("Why are you crying?), reasoning ("We have to clean up so we can have our snack") or consequences ("You need to be by yourself until you can calm down"). Unfortunately, these efforts don't always work as well as we'd like.
Brain research and experts in child development, psychology and psychiatry show us a better way (1, 2, 4, 7). To handle their upset, children need three things from adults: Connection, help with calming, and to be treated with empathy and compassion. In my Framework of Emotional Support, I call these the 3 C's. Let's look at strategies for each of the 3 C's.
After giving empathy, show compassion by offering to help the child deal with the feeling. Let them know "I'm here to help." Your job is to help them deal with the feeling, not to "give in" to what the child wanted that started their upset.
I hope these strategies help you support upset children with the 3 C's of connection, calming, and compassion.
Later, when children are calm and ready to learn, we can provide the other support they need. We can build their capacity for self-regulation and resilience by teaching them what to do instead and applying other strategies and environmental supports to help them handle future challenges. Watch for the next blog post for information about this fourth "C'.".
References and Resources:
(Written with Marjorie Wild)
In honor of Autism Acceptance Month, here are 7 tips for working with children on the autism spectrum:
1. Find ways to teach children skills that will help them interact
When a child wants to join a play group, be a social coach to all the children in your care. Model appropriate peer support and acceptance whether the environment includes classmates, family or friends.
2. Use clear and concise language
Give simple directions. Avoid multistep directions or asking the same thing a different way before the child has had time to process and respond. Allowing ample wait time helps young children and all those who may need extra time to process directions or requests.
4. Keep choices clear and limited
If a child is likely to be overwhelmed by too many choices or has limited verbal skills, offer two acceptable choices, such as apples or grapes for snack. (If a child is non-verbal the choice can be made using pictures or the items.) If offering acceptable activity choices following an inappropriate behavior, an example might be, “You can help your friends in the block area build their wall, or you can build something with your own blocks. You cannot knock their blocks down.”
6. Make consequences consistent and natural
Help children understand and predict consequences by being consistent. As with consistent routines, there can be comfort and calming in predictability and in consequences that are natural, like putting a toy away before beginning a new activity.
7. Identify what triggers strong reactions
Be aware of how a child’s sensory sensitivity may be affecting his/her behavior and how that affects their ability to self-regulate. A child whose brain is in fight, flight or freeze mode because of a sensory trigger will need help with calming before he/she can process a lesson or reflect on the behavior. Remove distractions such as noise or an overstimulating visual background when necessary.
References & Resources:
Albert Einstein College of Medicine Autism Spectrum Disorder Defined. (2013, Jan 15). https://youtu.be/bo4-5xnRcYU
Center on the Social Emotional Foundations of Early Learning. (n.d.). Resources: Preschool training modules. http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/resources/training_preschool.html#mod3b
Ganz, J.B. & M.M. Flores. (2010). Implementing visual cues for young children with autism spectrum disorders and their classmates. Young Children 65 (3): 78-83.
Head Start Center for Inclusion. (n.d.). Classroom visuals and supports. Teacher Tools. http://headstartinclusion.org/teacher-tools#visual
Kaplan Early Learning Company. (n.d.). Supporting children with autism. https://www.kaplanco.com/ii/autism
National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). Autism spectrum disorder. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/autism-spectrum-disorders-asd/index.shtml
OCALI Autism Certification Center (n.d.). ASD strategies in action. https://autismcertificationcenter.org/
Villa, J. & L. Colker. (2006). A personal story: making inclusion work. Young Children 61 (1): 96-100.
Willis, C. (2009). Young children with autism spectrum disorder: strategies that work. Young Children 64 (1): 81-89.
Willis, C. (2006). Teaching Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Beltsville, MD: Gryphon House.
Written with Kristen K. Carroll
What is Social Emotional Learning?
According to Committee for Children, "Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success." www.cfchildren.org/what-is-social-emotional-learning/
To celebrate SEL Day, we're sharing five ideas for promoting SEL in your classroom, program, school, or home:
4. Provide practice of problem-solving.
Problem solving skills take a lot of practice and can be learned through opportunities for peer conflict resolution. Encouraging children to attempt to figure out how to solve a problem on their own promotes independence and self-confidence. Practice can also come from discussing scenarios and providing feedback on various solutions. When children learn to have healthy discussions and use active listening, they develop respect for others' opinions, even when they disagree.
In my preschool classroom, I taught children a simple method of problem-solving. I coached them through the process, and eventually they could solve problems themselves!
(Written with Kristen K. Carroll)
First, let's define diversity, equity and inclusion. Here's what the terms mean to me:
We encourage everyone to model inclusion and respect for diversity in your classroom, program, or home and in the community. As we strive for equity, we can begin with a examination of our attitude.
A – Attitude
Are we demonstrating that differences are to be celebrated, that everyone belongs, and that we can meet each child where they are, providing what they need to reach challenging but achievable goals? When we have an attitude of respect for others, we exude that mindset and demonstrate it to our children through our actions and words.
A great way to show children our attitude of honoring diversity and inclusion is through the wonderful world of books!
Here are a just a few suggestions to reinforce kindness, inclusion, and respect for all.
Another way to honor diversity and model inclusion would be to include depictions of or interactions with people of all races, abilities and other social identities throughout your classroom or home environment. Are multicultural dolls and pictures of all types of people easily accessible to your children? Do you provide opportunities for your children to interact with people from all backgrounds and walks of life?
C- Classroom Activities/ Cool Ideas to Try at Home
That leads us to activities to do in the classroom or at home. Here are some ideas for reinforcing kindness, honoring diversity, and encouraging inclusion:
As we implement activities to honor diversity and inclusion, let’s remember to incorporate them year-round. Avoid a “tourist approach,” where children “visit” other cultures only during holidays or special occasions; instead, provide activities that broaden children’s awareness of different ways of doing things.
As we are reminded to honor Black historical figures this month, let’s remember all the ways that we can show our respect for them – and others, in the past and in the present – throughout the entire year.
Check out my previous blog post on mindfulness activities for children. Remember that we need to teach these strategies when children are calm and provide lots of opportunities for practice. Eventually children will be able to practice mindfulness themselves when they are upset. What a valuable skill for life-long self-regulation - and for a calmer classroom in the meantime!
Here are four more mindfulness activities to help you to cultivate calmness in your classroom or home life. Please share your own as well - let's support one another as we strive for a better 2022!
Add these four mindfulness activities to your repertoire, and please share your favorites with us.
We at ECS are wishing you a happy, healthy, and calmer 2022!
I hope these quotes will inspire you to use mindfulness to take care of yourself as well. Try focusing your attention on your breath, your body, or your surroundings. Or use awareness as you do an activity you find relaxing, such as walking or jogging; dancing or listening to music; journaling, drawing, or painting; sewing, baking or gardening. You may also want to focus your mind on positive thoughts, like the people and the things you are grateful for and the things you've been able to accomplish.
When the stress of the holidays - or life in general - gets you down, try a few mindfulness practices. Perhaps, as they did for me today, they will help you feel a little calmer.
All of us at ECS are wishing you peace and happiness this holiday season!
Mindfulness activities help build children's capacity for self-regulation. If you teach these activities when children are calm and provide lots of opportunities for practice, children may be able to do some of them when they are upset. They'll need lots of help, especially at first: You can model the activity (not just once or twice, but many times), then provide prompts or cues (little reminders to use the activities). Eventually your children may be able to use mindfulness activities independently. A bonus is that you'll have fewer tantrums and meltdowns to handle.
Incorporate some of these mindfulness activities into your program or home life. You'll be teaching a valuable life skill - and helping to create calmness in your life, too!
Here are seven mindfulness activities that may be fun for children and adults, too. Watch this blog for lots more mindfulness ideas for children and some encouragement for you as well! (f you don't want to wait, check out this year's posts on social media (@earlychildhoodspecialties on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.) I'd love to hear your own activity ideas in the comments, so please share. We're all in this together!
For toddlers, blowing bubbles can be a good introduction to mindfulness. When they are upset, rather than simply distracting them with a toy, blow some bubbles. You can say something like “bye-bye sad,” which will eventually help children connect bubble blowing with the idea of letting go. Take slow, gentle breaths and encourage the children to do the same.
Research shows that taking deep breaths helps calm the fight or flight stress response for children and adults. Deep breathing is a great place to start practicing mindfulness, and there are so many activities to try - here I'm sharing just two.
You don't have to serve hot chocolate for this activity! Just let the children pretend they are holding a cup of cocoa and practice breathing gently in and out. What other foods can your children pretend to smell and cool down with their breath?
The most important part of deep or "belly breathing" is to focus on your breath going in and out. You can also practice taking deeper breaths by concentrating on using your diaphragm, the muscle under your lungs that goes down when you breathe in and up when you breathe out. One way to help you do this is to put your hand on your belly. You should see your belly go out as you breathe in and go in as you breathe out. If you're new at this, it's easiest to do while lying on your back.
Children may enjoy having a stuffed animal or toy on their belly and watching it go up and down. This is a great activity for helping children relax for nap or rest time!
Besides deep breathing, sensory experiences such as eating provide a wonderful opportunity to practice mindfulness.
During a meal or snack, help slow down the experience and try to get children to engage the five senses to notice everything about their food. Here are some questions you could ask:
-How does it look?
-How does it smell?
-How does it feel to your fingers or on your fork? How does it feel in your mouth?
-How does it taste?
-How does it sound when you break or cut it? When you bite or chew it?
Eating mindfully may have the added benefits of helping all of you enjoy the food and one another. It will probably mealtime calmer, too!
You probably already have a sensory play area in your classroom or home. You can suggest mindful play by encouraging children to focus on the sensations of their fingers and both sides of their hands as they explore. They may also want to notice what they smell and hear as well. Rotate through a variety of wet and dry sensory materials, and provide sensory bins both indoors and outdoors.
Some of my favorite sensory materials are kinetic sand and water beads. Which ones do your children enjoy most?
Another type of mindfulness activities is guided meditation. Here's one to try:
Have children lie on their backs and close their eyes. Ask them to take a few deep breaths, noticing how their bellies move in and out.
Then ask them to pay attention to other parts of their bodies one at a time, relaxing them if they can. You may want to limit the number of parts at first (perhaps starting with feet, legs, belly, arms, hands).
As you guide children through this exercise, calmly talk with them about how their body parts may feel. Reassure them that it’s hard to relax sometimes, and encourage them to keep trying. With practice they will improve!
This is a great mindfulness activity that also helps children to practice gratitude - it's perfect to try as Thanksgiving approaches!
When children are calm, ask them to think of three good things happening in their lives. Practice this often, and it may help children – and you – develop an attitude of gratitude.
Let children know that when we are feeling unhappy, it’s okay to feel sad. But when we do, thinking of three good things can help us feel better.
So now you have a few ideas for mindfulness activities for children. I hope they bring you and your children calmness as we approach the hectic end-of-year holiday season!
References & Resources
Thanks to Shareen Ratnani for sharing her presentation, "Let's Talk Mindfulness Activities for Children", presented on February 10, 2021 at Bonnie's Global Cafe for the World Forum on Early Care and Education. Find some of her mindfulness activities on her YouTube channel.
I'm Diane Goyette, a Child Development Specialist, Trainer, Consultant and Keynote Speaker. I'm excited to share my blog!