By Anjana Sudhir, guest writer and Pretzel Kids teacher
Mindfulness has become a buzzword in recent years, especially during the pandemic when we can all use mindfulness strategies for stress relief. But did you know that yoga and mindfulness go hand in hand? In fact, yoga is one of the best ways to practice mindfulness in your everyday life!
So what is mindfulness? And why is mindfulness for kids important?
Simply put, mindfulness is the ability to be in the present, and to be aware of your senses and emotions without being judgemental. Research has shown that adults practicing mindfulness are more equipped to deal with stress. And, while adults benefit from this practice, so do children. In fact, mindfulness for children can help them cope with everyday stressors at school, and help them build resilience and compassion. So why not give this gift to your kids, and encourage them to read more books at the same time?
Below are the top 9 books on mindfulness for kids!
1. Breathe Like a Bear
Breathe Like a Bear by Kira Willey includes a beautifully illustrated collection of mindfulness exercises designed to teach kids techniques for managing their bodies, breath, and emotions. It has 30 simple, short breathing practices and movements that can be performed anytime, anywhere. If your kids are doing virtual school, homeschool or enrolled in a pandemic pod, this book is a great way to incorporate some yoga into your child’s daily routine.
2. Mindfulness for Children
This is my personal favorite and makes a great gift for parents, yoga teachers and educators. Mindfulness for Children by Tracy Daniel, PhD. introduces the definition of mindfulness, and talks about the scientific research behind it. More importantly it is filled with activities, games and art which can be easily implemented in a classroom or at home in day to day lives. This book teaches mindfulness to kids through activities that are fun, engaging and play-based.
3. Good Night Yoga/Good Morning Yoga
These are great books to introduce young children to the world of yoga and mindfulness. These gorgeous books by Mariam Gates prepare children to start the day with confidence and intention, and end the day feeling calm and relaxed. Children learn easy yoga poses, body awareness and self-care techniques that can be used every morning and night.
4. I am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness
I Am Peace by Susan Verde is a fantastic book that is suitable for young children ages three and up. When the outer world for the kids becomes chaotic, it is important to teach kids to find inner peace. This book has beautiful watercolor illustrations and teaches empathy, mindfulness and how to express emotions through speech.
More books on mindfulness for children!
5. Puppy Mind
We often hear that our minds are like ‘the monkey mind.’ Analogous to monkey mind, is this kid-friendly book called Puppy Mind by Jordan Nance. In this tale, a little boy learns to train his mind. The story introduces young kids to the concept of the past and future, and the mind’s interest in wandering away from the present moment. Then, it shows you how to use your breath to bring your mind back to the present moment. This is a beautiful book with colorful illustrations that kids will love.
6. Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and their Parents)
This book by Eline Snel is the perfect way to introduce being present for kids ages 5-12. In a simple and accessible way, this kids book describes what mindfulness is and how mindfulness-based practices can help children calm down, become more focused, fall asleep more easily, alleviate worry, manage anger, and generally become more patient and aware. The book contains eleven practices that focus on just these scenarios, along with short examples and anecdotes throughout.
7. A World of Pausabilities: An Exercise in Mindfulness
This book by Frank J. Sileo, PhD. makes a great bedtime reading or storytime reading during a children’s yoga class. Suitable for children ages 3-6, this book has received several awards. A World of Pausabilities is a gentle reminder to stop, take a break, and notice details even as we go about our busy days. Sometimes the simplest moments are the most important ones—if we don’t let them pass us by!
8. Love to Be Me
What the world needs is love, sweet love! Love to Be Me by Sarah Kraftchuk is a great book that teaches kids about how each one of us are different and yet special in our own unique ways. It teaches kids to honor uniqueness, and express love for themselves. This book also teaches kids to make the world a kinder place by being kind to themselves first.
9. My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing
This fabulous book by Nick Ortner introduces kids to mindful breathing. Deep long breaths help kids manage their strong emotions like worry, anger or sadness. This book is perfect to start a discussion with kids about their emotions and feelings and teach them about how long deep breaths can help them feel better.
Mindful books for kids are a great way to teach yoga!
As they say, the health of a society depends on the health of our children. We need to build a future of happy, healthy and mindful youngsters! We hope these top books on mindfulness for kids will help you introduce strategies for stress relief, yoga poses, breathing techniques, meditation and more.
And here’s one final pro tip: if you want to be part of the mindful kids movement, join the Pretzel Kids community!