Many of the practices that support our well-being and happiness as adults are wonderful for children as well, but the way that they are taught must be developmentally appropriate and meet their sometimes very different needs.
We recently were introduced to an activity book for children that does just that, called Yoga and Mindfulness Practices for Children Activity and Coloring Book, by Jennifer Cohen Harper of Little Flower Yoga. Containing over 50 different practices, the book is designed to be used by kids themselves, as well as for parents, educators and clinicians to share with them.
Below is an excerpt of an activity called Kind Wishes, a child friendly version of a loving kindness meditation. I’m happy to share it with you, and hope you can practice right along with the children in your life.
Sit up tall. Close your eyes or look at one spot that isn’t moving. If there are other people in the room, imagine that you are sitting all by yourself. Notice what it feels like to sit with yourself.
Imagine someone that you care about very much walking into the room and sitting down right in front of you. What does it feel like to sit with this person?… Let’s send them some kind wishes.
Say to yourself, either out loud or in your mind: ….May you be happy…May you be healthy…May you be safe….May you be strong
How did you feel when you sent kind wishes to this person? Happy? Proud? Sad? Any other feelings? Was it easy or hard to send kind wishes to this person?
Now close your eyes again and imagine someone you think is a little annoying or frustrating. Maybe your sister or brother when they are driving you crazy, or a friend you had an argument with recently. It could even be a teacher or a parent. Imagine that person walking into the room and sitting down in front of you. What does it feel like to sit with this person?…
Let’s send them some kind wishes. Say to yourself, out loud or silently, ….May you be happy…May you be healthy…May you be safe…May you be strong
How did it feel to send this person kind wishes?
Now close your eyes, and imagine yourself sitting with a mirror in front of you. Look into the mirror and notice what it feels like to sit here with yourself… Now send some kind feelings to yourself, by saying ….….May I be happy…May I be healthy…May I be safe…May I be strong
Notice what it feels like to send these kind wishes to yourself. Take a few steady breaths, and when you are ready, open your eyes.
Don’t forget to download the reflective worksheet and coloring sheet that enhance this activity, along with a bonus practice called Layers of Sound. Happy practicing!