This simple mindfulness exercise helps kids let go of tension and become more aware of their bodies. It’s a fun tool to use when they’re anxious, and it’s super simple to do.
I introduced this exercise to my 2-year-old son some months ago. We simplified it further, due to his age. What we did was we simply crunched our bodies – our faces, fists, hands, abdominals, and toes – all at once. The whole body crunch with an added silly face routine seems to work quite well when he is anxious. We make fun of the situation and end up laughing together.
Here’s the mindfulness exercise:
Mindfulness Exercises For Kids – Squish And Let Go
Purpose: Relaxation / Introduction to mindfulness of body
Best For: Ages 3+
What you need: Nothing
Ask your child to lie down and take a few deep breaths.
You can use the following script with your child:
Tense your stomach muscles for the count of two and then release or relax them. See how this feels.
Now we’ll start this tensing and relaxing with each part of the body, starting with the toes.
Clench your toes for the count of two, then release them.
Now clench your feet for two, then release.
Let’s try your calf muscles. Clench for two, then release.
Work your way up your body until you finally finish up by clenching and releasing the top of your head. For added fun, you can ask your child to make a silly face as he clenches his face.
When you’re done, ask your child how his body feels now.
- How did it feel to tense up?
- How did it feel to let go?
- Now that you have visited each muscle of your body, tensed, and let go, are you more relaxed or more tense?
It’s best to learn this exercise when you are both calm and relaxed. This way it will be much easier to apply when your child is tense.
If you are new to mindfulness with children we recommend that you also read our guide: How To Practice Mindfulness With Children – The Essential Guide
Have you tried mindfulness exercises for kids before? How did it work out for you? Let us know.
May you be happy and healthy!
Chris Bergstrom is a dad who is thrilled to practice mindfulness with his son. He is trained by Mindful Schools to teach mindfulness to students in K-12 (but not associated with MS) and a member of the American Mindfulness Research Association. He’s also an executive consultant, and has taught meditation for more than 10 years.