The last few days we have been looking out for shooting stars … with no luck.
Yesterday my son Anton pretended to see a falling star and insisted that he could make a wish.
I said he could … and he wished that daddy would come to sleep with him when he went to bed … instead of doing grown-up stuff.
It was so sweet that I came up with this simple variation of loving kindness practice that I call “Wish On a Star.”
We do other forms of loving kindness practice too … but it’s great to have one more alternative in our mindfulness toolbox. This way it’s easier to keep practice fresh!
And by the way …
The benefits of kindness practice are many … here are a few:
You connect with each other when you practice
You learn empathy
You learn to pay attention to emotions
You learn what’s important to each other
And loving kindness practice makes you feel good!
Now, if you’re a science nerd like me you can check out this article with 18 science-based reasons to practice loving kindness.
So … today when we were out playing and Anton wanted to spot falling stars again … I remembered the game and said that we could play ”Wish On a Star.”
It goes like this:
You look up at the sky and you pretend to see a falling star.
Or you wish on a star that’s there.
Any star will do … even a pretend one :-)
Then you get to make two wishes:
one for yourself
and one for somebody you care for.
Finally you pay attention to how it feels to wish these kind things for yourself and others.
Ahem … I was planning to wish for a Tesla … but Anton changed that with his kind wishes.
I was surprised that he didn’t wish for a new toy when I told him he could wish anything in the world.
He pretended to see a falling star, and he wished for himself …
… that Daddy would be less busy.
Then he wished for Grams that she wouldn’t fall and hurt herself.
Finally, I asked him how it felt to say these kind wishes.
Anton said that it felt good!
I felt a little selfish for thinking about my dream Tesla. So, when it was my turn to spot a star, I wished that I’d get to spend more time with my son … and for my wife, I wished that she wouldn’t get sick on the airplane when we fly again in a few weeks.
Anton thought those were really good wishes :-)
My plan had been to start with materialistic wishes and slowly teach my son to appreciate less materialistic things.
He surprised me there!
So, here’s once more how this sweet game goes:
Mindfulness with Kids — Wish On a Star — Loving Kindness Practice
1. You look up at the sky (or out of the window) and pretend to see a falling star. You can do this in bed too by simply pretending that you can see a starry night sky.
2. Then you get to make two wishes: one for yourself and one for somebody you care for. As a parent or educator, you can start and set the tone … instead of wishing yourself a Tesla, you could find something more heartfelt and kind to show the kids.
Here are some examples:
I wish for you to be healthy.
I wish for Grams to be happy.
I wish you a fun day.
I wish for myself to be healthy and happy.
3. Finally, you pay attention to how it feels to wish these kind things to yourself and others. You simply ask the kids how it feels to wish kind things.
Yesterday at dinner Anton asked if we could play “Wish On a Star” again. He had the sweetest, kindest wishes, and it made us all feel happy :-)
I hope you enjoyed this variation of Loving Kindness Practice.
May you be happy & healthy,
If you are new to mindfulness with children, or you want to boost your practice, we recommend our online courses: Get notified here!
Chris Bergstrom is the co-founder of BlissfulKids.com and a dad who is thrilled to practice mindfulness with his son. He is a certified mindfulness facilitator, and trained to teach mindfulness to students in K-12. He’s also an executive consultant, and has taught meditation for more than 10 years.