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Back to School Mindfulness

4 Back to School Mindfulness Practices

Saying goodbye to swimming, relaxed schedules and vacations and looking ahead to new classrooms, teachers and first day jitters can bring about anxiety in many children. Students often worry about navigating peer relationships, teacher expectations and homework. However, having an established mindfulness practice can help ameliorate the transition back to school. Mindfulness is being aware of our thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindfulness techniques allows children to shift their emotional state from one of ‘fight or flight or freeze’ to one of calm and ease.


A crucial part of a mindfulness practice is a focus on the breath. Mindful breathing can help children slow down and pause. Here are some breathing techniques to try at home.

(4 Breathing Techniques Below)


Meditation can be quick yet effective. Before children walk out the door to catch the bus in the morning, allow time to practice a Five Senses Meditation. Take three calming breaths and ask yourself: What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you taste and what do you feel? After answering all these questions, take three more deep breaths and return to the present moment.


Affirmations or mantras that children can revisit throughout the day is a great way to practice mindfulness. Consider leaving little notes in your student’s backpack or lunchbox with encouraging statements such as “you are so kind” or “you can do hard things.”


Having a gratitude practice helps fill the mind with positive thoughts and boosts moods. It allows us to focus on all the good in our lives rather than the negative. At the end of the day, have everyone in the family share something you are grateful for that day. This is a great way for younger children to talk about their day at school. Older kids can even keep a gratitude journal.

These mindfulness practices can be done all year long and with regular use bring about a sense of inner calm, ease and peace.

Breathing Techniques for Kids

Focusing on the breath is an easy and effective way to help children manage their anxiety and stress. Teaching children how to correctly take a deep calming breath and daily practice of breathing techniques is very beneficial for children to help them in their daily lives. Try practicing these breathing exercises in a calm moment so children will be fully prepared to self-regulate their emotions in a time of stress or panic.

Breathing Buddies

Have children lie on their back and place a stuffed animal or doll on their belly. Ask children to “rock” their stuffed animal to sleep by taking deep breaths in and out of their bellies.

5 Finger Breath

Lift one hand and spread your fingers out like a star. Place your pointer finger of the opposite hand on the bottom of the thumb. breathe in as you slide your pointer finger up the thumb and breathe out as you slide your finger down the thumb. Continue “tracing” up and down each finger ending with the pinky finger.

Shoulder Roll Breath

Start in a comfortable seated position. As you inhale, shrug your shoulders up to your ears. As you breathe out, relax your shoulders down your back. Try to sync up your breathing to your movements. This is a great exercise to do in a chair at school.

Square Breath

Draw a square on a piece of paper. Starting at the bottom right corner, use your index finger to trace the first side of the square. As your finger moves up, inhale in for four counts. As your finger moves along the second side, hold the breath for four counts. As your finger moves down the third side, exhale for four counts. As you trace the bottom side, hold the breath for four counts.

These mindfulness practices can be done all year long and with regular use bring about a sense of inner calm, ease and peace.

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