Sometimes kids’ lives can get busy and out of control, and worries can take over. When that happens, knowing how to pause and regain composure with mindfulness can help! This easily digestible guide introduces kids to mindfulness as a way to find clarity, manage stress, handle difficult emotions, and navigate personal challenges. With step-by-step instructions to over thirty breathing, relaxation, and guided meditation exercises, readers will have an entire toolkit at their disposal and writing prompts will help them process their discoveries. Clearly written and incredibly relatable, this invaluable resource provides a positive introduction to the world of self-care and mindfulness.
|Publisher:||Whitman, Albert & Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Whitney Stewart is a children’s book author, meditation teacher, and a born adventurer. She has traveled to Tibet, Nepal, and India and teaches mindfulness at Tulane University and to children and teens. Her most recent children's book is Meditation is an Open Sky: Mindfulness for Kids. She lives in Louisiana with her husband and son. Stacy Peterson is a full-time illustrator of greeting cards, magazines, and dozens of books including School RULES, Friends: Making Them & Keeping Them, and The Awesomest, Randomest Book Ever. Formerly, she was an art director at a New York City ad agency. She lives in Texas with her family.
Read an Excerpt
MINDFUL ME Toolbox
This book is a toolbox of mindfulness practices: exercises, activities, journal prompts, and meditation guides. See which ones help you the most. You might not like all of them. That's okay. Everyone is different. There are no hard rules in mindfulness — only helpful pointers.
Writing and drawing about your thoughts and feelings could help you understand them. You might see a problem in a new way. You can keep everything you write and draw in your MINDFUL ME Activity Book, or use your own MINDFUL ME binder or notebook. Check back any time and see how you have grown and changed.
MINDFUL ME Meditation
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is an important part of MINDFUL ME PRACTICE. In meditation, you stay alert and rest your mind in its calm, relaxed, and natural state.
What is the mind's natural state? That's hard to explain, but you experience it as an awareness or knowing that you are not the center of the universe but an important part of it. You're not an isolated dot in the middle, but one piece of a giant puzzle. And so is everyone else. That helps you see you are not alone. What you do affects your entire community and the whole planet.
Meditation also shows you that life is a flow, and everything is always changing. The Earth rotates, and the sun rises and sets. Seeds grow into plants that live out their life span. You were once a baby, and soon you'll be an adult. When you accept this ever-changing flow instead of struggling with it, you might find more peace in your heart. You can relax a little when things aren't going your way because you know they will change.
When you settle your mind, body, and breath in meditation, you may experience your natural state. And if you don't, just wait and try again. Remember the guidelines — mindfulness and meditation take practice.
How to Sit in Meditation
To practice meditation, sit in a chair or cross-legged on a mat or blanket. Place an extra pillow under your bottom to help your posture. Sit up straight — as if you were a tall mountain — but not stiff. Relax your shoulders and jaw. Rest your hands on your thighs or in your lap. Keep your eyes slightly open and stare at a spot on the floor in front of you. If that distracts you, you can close your eyes until you're settled and then open them a little.
The benefits of keeping your eyes open are that you will be less likely to fall asleep and more likely to focus your mind. Some of the relaxation exercises in this book, however, do suggest you close your eyes. Find out what works best for you.
Begin each meditation with three MINDFUL ME BREATHS, described below. Relax all your muscles, and let your body sink into your seat. Let yourself be alert but relaxed.
You can start by taking three MINDFUL ME BREATHS.
Three MINDFUL ME BREATHS
As you begin, notice your breathing. Take three soft, slow breaths, and feel them in your body.
Breathe in, and feel air coming into your nose.
Breathe out, and count one.
Breathe in, and notice air filling your lungs.
Breathe out, and count two.
Breathe in, and see the air expanding your belly.
Breathe out, and count three.
Repeat for two more rounds of breathing into your nose, lungs, and belly.
* * *
Take three MINDFUL ME BREATHS any time you want to settle down and focus your attention. Then keep your attention on your normal breathing. If you notice you start thinking about something else, just bring your attention back to your breath.
This is a simple breath meditation.
You can give your meditation practice extra support by adding an intention before you start and a dedication at the end.
Intention: Ask yourself why you are meditating. Your answer is your intention. It guides your practice. For example, you could say, "I meditate to understand myself and the world better," or "I meditate to feel my natural state."
Dedication: Dedicating your meditation is like sealing it with kindness. You could say, "I dedicate my meditation to kids like me who sometimes feel mad or sad." You could also dedicate your practice to your best friend or even to your pet. It's your choice.
This reminds you that you are part of a community of people who all want to be happy, just like you.
MINDFUL ME Questions and Answers
You might have a few more questions about mindfuless and meditation. Here are some that people often ask.
How long should I meditate?
This is up to you. Some people like to start with three minutes. Other people like to meditate longer — ten minutes, twenty minutes, even an hour or more. There is no magic number. Trust yourself to find the best amount of time.
Is mindfulness a religious practice?
Mindfulness is a method for you to pay attention to whatever is happening in the present moment. MINDFUL ME practices and activities do not belong to any specific religion.
Do I force myself not to think during meditation?
The mind thinks. That's one of its biggest jobs. In meditation, you do not need to struggle with your mind. Instead, just watch what it does, without reacting to it. Become curious about the way your mind works. You might discover that you have a very busy mind, or a very quiet mind. Explore it!
Does mindfulness mean I accept whatever happens to me, even bullying?
Being a MINDFUL ME means accepting yourself — with all of your thoughts and emotions — and the situations you face.
But let's be clear — being a MINDFUL ME does not mean you let others hurt you. Bullying is an unMINDFUL way of handling a social situation. You may not be able to stop a bully, but you can make healthy choices and stay safe.
MINDFUL ME PRACTICE is not enough if you are ever physically unsafe. In that case, please talk to an adult you trust. Self-care is a strong part of being a MINDFUL ME. Do not keep silent if you feel you are in danger.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care means knowing what you need to be well, treating yourself with kindness, and taking positive actions to function well. For example, let's say you become cranky and frustrated when you don't get enough sleep. When you practice self-care, you could choose to go to bed early enough to sleep well and wake up refreshed. That way, you don't start off the day in a bad mood.
Here's another example. Let's say you have a peanut or other food allergy. If someone offers you a food that will make you sick, you politely explain you cannot eat it. This is especially important if you have a health condition that other people may not understand. You speak up for yourself to stay healthy. That is self-care.
Self-care is very important if someone is hurting you, either with words or physical contact. Move away from the situation when you can, and ask someone you trust for help.
Self-care is not the same as being selfish, which means focusing on yourself without thinking of others. With self-care, you realize you are an equal and important part of a community, and so is everyone else. That means you treat yourself well so that you are in good shape to be a friend, classmate, family member, or community participant.
MINDFUL ME Practice Tips
You may want to set a timer with a gentle ringtone for your meditation sessions. Increase your meditation time as you strengthen your practice.
If you feel bored during meditation, explore how boredom feels in your body. Can you be comfortable doing nothing? If not, ask yourself why not.
If your mind hops around from one thought to the next, no worries. You don't have to fix it. Let it be. Gradually you may find you can focus your mind more on the object of your meditation.
If you feel wiggly during meditation, alternate sitting and moving meditation.
If your body is a little uncomfortable during meditation, notice the discomfort before you adjust yourself. Feel the itch before you scratch. This trains your mind not to react immediately. If you feel strong pain, stop your meditation and talk to an adult who can help you. Asking for help is part of self-care.
If sitting silently with your eyes closed scares you, open your eyes and focus on something in front of you. If that does not help, talk to someone you trust about feeling scared.
If you start to fall asleep during meditation, shift your gaze higher and take full breaths. If that does not help, take a nap and meditate later.
With MINDFUL ME movement, do not push yourself if something is not comfortable. Choose a modification if it feels better.
Self-care is always important in MINDFUL ME PRACTICE.
MINDFUL ME PRACTICE is about being aware and open. It is not about being good or bad, right or wrong, better or worse. MINDFUL ME PRACTICE is never competitive.
Anyone can practice mindfulness. Your body need not limit you. Make whatever modifications are right for you. If you use special equipment to sit or move, feel free to incorporate it into your practice. You could also use your mind to visualize a movement activity. The idea is to pay attention to whatever you are experiencing in the present moment.
What's Your MINDFUL ME Style?
Some people love a crowd and are great at bringing a group together. Others are happiest reading a book, painting, or bird-watching on a nature trail. How well do you know yourself? Answer these questions to find out your MINDFUL ME style — Sun, Moon, Wind, or Fire. You might even discover you're a combination of two. Then look for the activities that best suit you.
Take this quiz. How would you act in these situations?
1. When you have free time, you would rather:
A. organize an activity with friends.
B. read a book or play an electronic game alone.
C. play guitar in a band or build a robot with a team of kids.
D. run for student government.
2. If you have to sit quietly and wait in a room by yourself, you:
A. do your homework.
C. fidget or bounce your legs up and down.
D. pace around the room.
3. Your friend is telling you a long story. You: A. show enthusiasm and keep the conversation going.
B. feel overwhelmed and wish for quiet.
C. listen carefully and ask specific questions.
D. interrupt and talk about yourself.
4. You have an important test tomorrow. You:
A. review your class notes with a study group.
B. close yourself into a room with your textbook.
C. put on headphones, listen to music, and write out a practice answer.
D. study for ten minutes, check social media, talk with friends, study some more.
5. Your class is putting on a play. You: A. try out for the lead.
B. work backstage.
C. write the play.
D. direct the play.
Turn the page to see your answers.
What's Your MINDFUL ME Style? Answers
If you chose mostly A answers, you're usually outgoing and upbeat, and you tend to like a crowd. You may be a leader with loads of ideas. It's great you have energy and a positive nature, but remember not everyone's like you. Some people would rather stand in the shade. Notice how your actions affect others, and give them a chance to shine too. You can be a great friend.
Suggested MINDFUL ME activities: Jigsaw Puzzle, I Hear You, Heart-Happy
If you chose mostly B answers, you may be a quiet or shy person who prefers to be alone rather than in a crowd. You could be sensitive and creative, and you may like to think up special projects for yourself. You have strength in your independence, but remember to ask for help when you need it. Other people might not understand who you are unless you tell them. And when you do, they will be amazed.
Suggested MINDFUL ME activities: Cloud Floating, MINDFUL ME Tasting
If you chose mostly C answers, you may be great at creative projects and inspiring others. You have strong beliefs and let people know your opinions. You could be touchy if things don't go your way, so watch that you don't cause a storm. You are a strong leader, but you might choose to recharge on your own.
Suggested MINDFUL ME activities: Special Place, Challenge Your Thoughts
If you chose mostly D answers, you may be full of energy and emotion. You love being part of the gang and can stir up fun. You react strongly to life, so be careful you don't burn out. Understanding how to respond to your emotions could be a big plus. Let your WISDOM MIND blaze.
Suggested MINDFUL ME activities: Find the Gap, MINDFUL ME Moving
MINDFUL ME Inner Self
When Life Feels Crazy
Sometimes life gets crazy. There are school, sports practice, music lessons, family chores, homework, and the list goes on and on. You are so busy, busy, busy that you often don't realize what you are feeling or thinking. You might not notice what's happening to the people around you. You forget to talk to your friends or you ignore your siblings. You might even feel like there's a weight on your shoulders, and you become grumpy without realizing why.
That's the perfect time to take a short break, try a MINDFUL ME meditation exercise, and relax. Meditation is like a personal pause button. It lets you focus your attention, open your heart, and listen to your WISDOM MIND.
What is your WISDOM MIND? It's your inner intuition. It's always there, even when you are upset or don't believe in yourself. Even when life feels really hard.
This chapter offers meditation exercises and visualizations to help you connect to your WISDOM MIND. Let's try some.
Who Am I?
The minute you are born, people talk about you. "Oh, what a cute baby," they might say. So that makes you cute. Later people make comments about you — kind or unkind — and they stick to you. Labels like smart. Pretty. Weird. Fat. Skinny. Athletic. Nerdy. You know all about labels and reputations. They're hard to change.
Before you know it, you might believe a label that someone else gave you. Or, you spend time saying, "Those labels aren't true, and I can prove it." All those labels and judgments — positive or negative — become part of you. What can you do about it?
What if you question them to see if they're true? Even better, what if you let all of them go? Don't believe a single one. Would you feel strange without any labels? What if you could dig deeper and find out who you really are? Not what other people say you are.
Let's try a visualization to do that. Read the next section, and then meditate on it or ask someone to read it aloud while you meditate.
Sometimes you let other people define you, but that might cause you to feel mixed up. Try this visualization meditation to see who you really are without any labels.
Begin by sitting in MINDFUL ME POSTURE. Focus your eyes on a spot in front of you (or close them), and take three MINDFUL ME BREATHS. Allow your body to settle and relax.
Imagine you are a jigsaw puzzle made up of hundreds of pieces. Each piece is a judgment or label you have about yourself, or a label someone has given you. Breathe deeply, and see the jigsaw puzzle in your mind.
Next, take a few pieces away from the puzzle, and feel air pass through the empty space. Are you still there when pieces are missing? Give yourself time to feel the answer to this question in your heart.
Now, imagine all the puzzle pieces crumbling into dust. Where are you now? Breathe into the empty space around you. What is that like?
Can you feel your inner self still there? It might feel like empty space guiding you without words. Or like fresh air flowing through you. This is your WISDOM MIND. Can you connect to it for a few minutes? Take your time.
Now, when you are ready, shift your attention back to the room where you are sitting. Take three more MINDFUL ME BREATHS, and notice any sensations you are having in your body. Has anything shifted?
Allow yourself some time before you jump back into activity. You can choose to take your refreshed awareness with you.
Relaxation meditations help you feel happy and more resilient so you can bounce back after a challenge. They could also increase your mental strength and concentration. Try this one to unwind and focus.
Begin by lying on a mat or blanket. Take three MINDFUL ME BREATHS, and close your eyes if you are comfortable doing so. Notice any sensations you are having in your body. With each breath, relax all your muscles.
Now, imagine you are in a special place, a place where you feel happy and safe. Use your imagination and see that place clearly. You might be at a beach or playground. You might be on a mountaintop or a Ferris wheel. Perhaps you have been there before, and you are remembering its details. Or perhaps you are creating a new special place in your mind.
Imagine looking up at the wide sky in your special place. Your WISDOM MIND is like this sky. Let the openness of the sky fill you. Take as long as you need. Breathe in the relaxation you feel in your special place. Notice what happens in your body when you feel happy. Soak it in.
When you are done, open your eyes and focus again on your body and breath. Do you notice any new sensations? Follow your breath as it comes in and goes out of your lungs.
Excerpted from "Mindful Me"
Copyright © 2018 Whitney Stewart.
Excerpted by permission of Albert Whitman & Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Becoming a Mindful Me xiii
Easy and Hard xiii
What Is Mindful Me Practice? xv
How Can Present-Moment Awareness Help? xvii
Why Be Mindful? xviii
What Is in Mindful Me Practice? xxi
Mindfulness Takes Practice xxi
Become a Mindful Me xxii
Chapter 1 Mindful Me Toolbox 1
What's Inside? 1
Mindful Me Meditation 2
What Is Meditation? 2
How to Sit in Meditation 3
Three Mindful Me Breaths 6
Extra Support 7
Mindful Me Questions and Answers 8
What Is Self-Care? 10
Mindful Me Practice Tips 11
What's Your Mindful Me Style? 14
Chapter 2 Mindful Me Inner Self 19
When Life Feels Crazy 19
Who Am I? 20
Jigsaw Puzzle 22
Special Place 23
Life's Flow 25
Journal Prompts 27
Chapter 3 Mindful Me Emotions 29
Emotions Are Natural 29
Examples of Emotions 31
Emotions Expressed through Body Language 32
Working with Emotions 34
BFF-Breathe, Focus, Feel 34
Holding the Heat 35
Hold and Release 37
Pain or Problem 39
Pain or Problem Meditation 39
Journal Prompts 41
Chapter 4 Mindful Me Thoughts 43
The Mind's Control Tower 43
Thoughts That Hurt You 44
Challenge Your Thoughts 46
Replacing Negative Thoughts 47
What Do I Tell Myself? 48
Working with Your Mind 49
Mind Drawing 50
Mind Clearing 52
Mind Safe 54
Color Your Thoughts 56
Journal Prompts 58
Chapter 5 Mindful Me Actions 59
Connecting the Dots 59
Finding the Gap 63
Scene Replay 65
Accepting Your Inner Experiences 68
Giving Yourself a Break 69
Cloud Floating 69
Feeling Strong and Confident 71
Be the Mountain 71
Journal Prompts 73
Chapter 6 Mindful Me Heart 75
Heart Jumping 76
Protection Circle 79
Sending Kindness 81
Wise One 83
Happy List 84
Heart-Happy Exercise 85
Journal Prompts 89
Chapter 7 Mindful Me at Home 91
Mindful Me Senses 92
Mindful Me Seeing 93
Mindful Me Hearing 94
Mindful Me Smelling 95
Mindful Me Tasting 96
Mindful Me Touching 97
Mindful Me Moving 97
Catching Distraction 98
Mindful Me Homework 101
Brain Breaks 101
Mindful Me Media 103
Hurtful Messages 105
How Do You Stay Mindful with Electronic Devices? 106
Mindful Me Bedtime 106
Journal Prompts 110
Chapter 8 Mindful Me Outside 113
Mindful Me Mindset 114
See It through Their Eyes 114
I Hear You 116
Kindness on the Spot 117
Building a Strong Community 118
Question Your Own Negative Attitudes 118
Problem Solving-In Simple Steps 120
Mindful Me Friendships 122
Journal Prompts 124
Chapter 9 Moment by Moment, Ever Changing 125
Mindful Me Glossary 129