This page provides information to support educators and families when teaching K-3 students about mindfulness. It is designed to complement the Mindfulness topic on BrainPOP Jr.  

Ask students to think of a time when they were worried or dealt with uncomfortable feelings. How did their bodies feel? What did they do about these uncomfortable feelings? Students can discuss times when their minds were racing or their hearts were beating fast because of what they were feeling or worried about. Explain that this is called stress, and that everyone feels stress at times. It’s important for us to recognize feelings of stress and know that it can be managed in a healthy way through mindfulness. 

Mindfulness is noticing and accepting our thoughts, feelings, senses and actions. It’s about being aware of what’s happening right now in our minds and bodies. One way to practice mindfulness is to sit quietly with eyes closed, and focus on what’s happening to our minds and bodies. We can place one hand on our hearts and one on our bellies and take long, slow, deep breaths. Focusing on our breathing brings us to the present moment. 

Another way to practice mindfulness is to focus on one of our senses. Remind children that the senses include touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell. Closing their eyes and simply listening to the world around them can help children focus on the present moment and not feel so stressed about the future and the past.  

It’s hard not to focus on things that worry us, so let students know they should never feel bad for having uncomfortable or stressful thoughts. Another good mindfulness exercise which helps us escape negative feelings is to think about things that make us happy. Gratitude is the feeling of being thankful, and focusing on gratitude can make children feel happy. No matter how anxious they feel, children can always remember things they are grateful for, like people they love and the things they like to do. 

Sometimes we have arguments and feel upset. Practicing mindfulness can help us feel better! By noticing and accepting how our bodies feel when we’re upset, we can tell ourselves that now is a perfect time to close our eyes and think of something nice about the other person. It can be hard, especially if we’re really upset, but a good memory can counterbalance the bad feelings.

Mindfulness can help children change the way they think and act. By noticing how they feel, children can calm themselves down before they do or say something they don’t mean. And when children are happy or excited, they’re more aware of how good it feels! Mindfulness also can prevent children from feeling distracted. When we’re distracted, we’re unable to pay attention. Mindfulness can pull children back into the present, so they don’t miss out on anything. 

Children can develop empathy through mindful behaviors. Explain to children that empathy is understanding the feelings of another person. When we’re aware of our own feelings, we’re much better at noticing when other people are going through tough emotions. Feeling empathy allows us to offer help to others when they need it, which in turn allows them to feel gratitude. 

Remind children that it can be challenging even for adults to notice their thoughts, feelings, senses and actions. It’s perfectly normal if mindfulness is tough at first. Mindfulness is a skill and something children can practice, like soccer or playing a musical instrument. By teaching children to practice mindfulness, you’re helping them develop a healthy understanding of their feelings and helping them create lifelong friendships.