Are you looking for fun and easy mindfulness breathing exercises for the classroom? This article will explore one of the easiest ways to incorporate mindfulness exercises into your classroom practice - breathing strategies! Keep reading for ways to incorporate daily mindfulness practice with simple exercises, mindfulness videos and mindfulness printables for any age group.
Plus, keep reading to find out how The Hive will help make it even easier for you to bring mindfulness into your classroom.
Mindfulness has become a popular topic in recent years, and for good reason. Did you know that mindfulness has been shown to have a number of benefits, including improved focus, reduced stress and anxiety, and increased compassion? It can be especially helpful for young children who are struggling with focus or stress-related issues. A simple mindfulness activity can be a powerful tool to manage different emotions and improve your emotional state.
So, let's explore the power of mindfulness and breathing strategies, and learn how it can benefit both you and your students!
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is when you focus on the present. You can do this by paying attention to your body and what you're feeling. You can also focus on your surroundings and what's happening around you. When you're mindful, you're not judging or trying to change anything. You're just observing.
Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings so that you can manage them better. It can also help you be more present in the moment and appreciate the things around you, leading to more positive emotions. When you're mindful, you're less likely to get caught up in your thoughts and worries, and you're more likely to be able to enjoy the present moment. Positive affirmations can also form part of mindfulness training.
Mindfulness is a simple concept, but it can be hard to do. It takes practice to learn how to be mindful. But once you get the hang of it, mindfulness can be a helpful tool for managing stress and anxiety.
Benefits of mindfulness in the classroom
Incorporating mindfulness into your daily classroom routines can be a great way to help students calm down and focus in the classroom. You'll find that by incorporating a simple mindful activity here and there throughout your day, this will not only lead to better academic performance, but will also improve self regulation and help young kids to make better decisions. There are loads of fun mindfulness activities and mindfulness games which can help encourage the simple practice of mindfulness in your classroom.
There are many different calming and breathing strategies that we can teach our students, and each student will find that different strategies work better for them than others. It's important to provide children with opportunities to experiment and find what works best for each individual.
Some things to keep in mind when incorporating mindfulness into the classroom:
1. Try to minimise distractions.
This could include being intentional with the way that your classroom and displays are set up, playing calming music to block out distractions from outside, and minimising clutter and mess throughout the classroom.
2. Allow students to choose their own calming strategies.
Some students may prefer to breathe deeply, while others may find it helpful to draw or do a puzzle. Different activities will work better for some students than others. Whilst all students will benefit from breathing strategies and taking deep breaths, different breathing strategies will work better for different students.
3. Practise mindfulness yourself!
Modelling calming and breathing techniques for your students can be a great way to show them how it's done. It also helps children to see that adults require these strategies just as much as they do! We are teaching our children life-long social emotional skills which will equip them with handling all that life throws at them.
4. Be patient and understanding.
It takes time to learn how to effectively use mindfulness, so don't get discouraged if it doesn't seem to be working right away. Stick with it and encourage your students to do the same.
Mindful Breathing Strategies
When it comes to mindfulness in the classroom, one of the best ways to get started is by incorporating some simple breathing exercises. A mindful breathing exercise can be as simple as having students close their eyes and focus on their breath for a few minutes each day - whenever you have a moment of free time. You can also have them try this exercise while they are working on different learning tasks.
Here are just some examples of breathing strategies that you could use with your students. Try picking a different fun breathing exercise to try each day!
Here are just some examples of breathing strategies that you could use with your students.
Some other examples of mindful breathing strategies that can be used in the classroom are:
Counting breaths: count each inhale and exhale, counting up to 10 or 20 if needed.
Box Breathing (also known as Square Breaths): inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts. Repeat as needed.
Mountain breath: inhale for 6 counts, hold for 6 counts, exhale for 6 counts. Repeat as needed.
The calming breath: inhale for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts. Repeat as needed.
Sigh breath: take a deep breath in, and let out a long sighing breath. Repeat as needed.
- 3-2-1 breath: inhale for 3 counts, hold for 2 counts, exhale for 1 count. Repeat as needed.
Other calming strategies that could be used in the classroom include:
Progressive muscle relaxation: start by tense all of the muscles in your feet and hold for 5 counts, then release. Work your way up your body, tense each muscle group for 5 counts and then releasing.
Imagery: close your eyes and imagine yourself in a calming and peaceful place.
Body scan: start at your feet and focus on each part of your body, tense and then relax each of the large muscle groups. This body awareness activity is an excellent way to check in on how your body feels and can help to relieve moments of stress.
Guided Relaxation: Find a relaxation script or recording online. Follow along with the instructions given.
- Simple physical activity: We know that getting our bodies moving is essential for our mental health. Encourage your children to stretch and move their bodies with stretching exercises, dance breaks or other fun exercise opportunities.
Mindfulness Worksheets for Kids
These mindfulness printables are a good way to consolidate the different mindfulness strategies that children are learning to explore. Students could pick the calming strategies and mindful breathing strategies that resonate best with them, and decorate these pages to take home with them as a reminder. Mindful colouring is another great way to help younger children to calm their minds and bodies.
Are you looking for guided breathing videos to support your students?
The Hive will be a great tool for encouraging more mindful behaviour in your classroom. It contains a growing library of mindful breathing videos for elementary students of all different ages. They encourage deep breathing and mindfulness meditation, and will benefit both younger students, middle school students and even older children too.
You can watch an example of candle breathing here:
Could you see yourself using these videos in your classroom?
- High-quality, evidence-based resources
- Engaging widgets & apps for interactive lessons
- Video warm up lessons & brain breaks (including the mindful breathing videos mentioned in this post)
- Editable digital classroom routines (daily slides, visual timetable & so much more)
So, are you ready to incorporate mindfulness in YOUR classroom?
Mindfulness can be a great way to help students calm down and focus in the classroom. By creating a calming environment, allowing students to choose their own calming strategies, and practising mindfulness yourself, you can help your students learn how to effectively use mindfulness in their lives.
This will not only lead to immediate benefits in your classroom - more settled students, positive well-being, and brains which are ready to learn - but will also help to set our students up for success well beyond their schooling years, by equipping them with a toolbox of strategies that they can draw upon with all that life will throw at them!