Breathe in, breathe out. Pay attention to your breath as it comes in and out. Notice how it makes you feel. There! You just practiced mindfulness!
The practice of mindfulness is about silencing the incessant chatter or the constant stream of thoughts that prevent us from being in the moment. Being present is also about living in ease, harmony, and respect for the world around us.
The American Psychological Association found practicing mindfulness reduces stress, anxiety and depression; can improve physical health; and can reduce pain, fatigue, and stress.* Early childhood educators are well aware that learning occurs naturally and joyfully when young children feel safe, understood, and focused. So what can research tell us about mindfulness and learning?
In her book, The Power of Presence: A Guide to Mindfulness Practices in Early Childhood, Elizabeth Joy Erwin, EdD, shares that the small but growing number of research studies examining mindfulness-based programs or interventions with young children are showing promising findings. How can educators and parents begin implementing this practice in children’s everyday lives?
In the video below, author and early childhood expert Elizabeth Erwin shares easy and approachable ways children and adults can practice mindfulness. Grab the children you care for and watch as she guides you—and your child—how to practice a breathing exercise.
Get the book, The Power of Presence: A Guide to Mindfulness Practices in Early Childhood, for insight and information to help you transform your teaching by learning how to pause, notice your surroundings, and simply be. You can also find more mindfulness activities on our website like mindfulness tips for families and stress relief story exercises for kids.
About the author
Elizabeth Erwin, EdD, is a professor of early childhood, elementary, and literacy education at Montclair State University. Her scholarship explores early childhood and inclusive education, the power of mindfulness and well- being, family-professional partnerships, a sense of belonging in early childhood, and self-determination. She is a prolific author and has published widely in prestigious academic journals and books.
*Creswell, D., PhD, & Khoury, B., PhD. (2019, October 30). Mindfulness meditation: A research-proven way to reduce stress Mindfulness meditation can improve both mental and physical health. Retrieved April 16, 2020, from https://www.apa.org/topics/mindfulness-meditation