Category Archives: Resources

Guided Imagery – The magic shell meditation

As we know, meditation techniques are useful for relieving stress and anxiety or simply remaining calm during daily life. Guided imagery can be a powerful tool to use with young children as it places them in a calm state of mind and can provide mental tools for tackling their troubles throughout the day. The following guided meditation script provides the image of a magic shell which acts as the tool, where children can place all of their ‘yucky feelings’ and worries into.

The power of this lies in the fact that the shell is in their imagination, therefore they can manage their feelings at any time. However you can also suggest finding a real shell at the beach or in the garden which the child can carry with them. If the child struggles with bad dreams, you can place the shell underneath their pillow in order to help promote restful sleep.


 

This script is for younger children and can help with worry and anxiety. (From Meditations for Mini’s by Debbie Wildi)

Place yourself in a comfy, cozy position. Close your eyes and take a long slow deep breath. As you breathe out relax your body.

Imagine that you are standing on a beach. See the beach in your mind. Think about a beach that you may have visited, or you could use an imaginary beach if you like.

You can feel the sand beneath your toes and the sun is warm on your face. Look around you. In front of you is a huge ocean. It looks a silvery-blue colour and the sunlight sparkles like tiny stars dancing on the surface.

You look at the ground and in front of you in the sand is the most glorious shell you have ever seen. You pick it up. It feels warm. Notice how smooth the shell is. Feel it with your fingers. This is your magic shell. You can tell it your secrets and it will keep them. You can also tell your shell any worries that you may have. Tell it about any problems that may be troubling you at the moment. No matter how big or how small they are. The shell wants to hear them.

Whenever you have worried feelings you can tell your shell about them and it will magically take those horrid feelings and turn them into good ones.

Now see yourself holding the shell close to your mouth. In your mind silently tell it whatever you wish. No one else will know what you say. Only you and your shell! As you say your words they go right into the middle of the shell so that it can take them away for you. Tell your shell your worries right now….

Now you do not have to feel yucky feelings anymore. The shell has made them disappear. Just like magic!

They are gone!

As you hold your shell close all you feel is calm and happiness. You feel peaceful all the way from the tips of your toes, to the tip of your nose. Feel it right now. Notice how it feels.

It is important for you to know that you can imagine your shell whenever you wish to make yucky thoughts and feelings disappear, whenever you wish to feel calm. Your shell will always be there waiting in your imagination.

Great Brain Break Videos for Kids

First of all, what exactly is a brain break?

A brain break is simply a short, engaging activity that teachers and parents can use to refresh and refocus a child’s attention (this should be less than 5 minutes). A brain break should get the blood pumping and the brain working!

And why are brain breaks important?

Regular brain breaks enhance attentiveness, concentration and focus. They accelerate learning by allowing children to release their energy, anxiety and stress.  Brain breaks also increase circulation and promote physical fitness and coordination.

There are a heap of YouTube channels providing excellent Brain Break videos and resources for children. Here are just a few of them: 

Debbie Doo Kids

Debbie Doo’s music and videos are perfect for Brain Breaks at school as they are written for toddlers, kindergarten, preschool and elementary school age kids. Each video strengthens language and speaking skills and fine and gross motor skills. Debbie Doo song’s explore different style of music and promotes adult/child interaction.  Debbie Doo’s videos help to build fitness using dance moves that promote a child’s health, coordination and most importantly happiness!

Check out the following video, Let’s Star Jump!

Click on the following link to access Debbie Doo’s videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/DebbieDooTV/featured

The Learning Station

Visit this YouTube channel for learning fun, educational videos and mostly brain breaks for children. These videos feature active participation, nursery rhymes, brain breaks for the classroom, learning videos, educational songs, dance and action songs for children. This channel is geared towards babies, toddlers, preschoolers and elementary age children.

Check out the brain break video below, Shake Your Sillies Out.

Click on the following link to access a number of Brain Break Songs: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLh-1JU15_Ti6lupVpfIrLNKb8Pef-jabS

Cosmic Kids Yoga 

This YouTube channel includes yoga and mindfulness videos made especially for  children. The videos are around 24 minutes long and are interactive adventures following dinosaurs, mermaids, wizards that help to build strength, balance and confidence. Explore the channel to find videos appropriate for different ages and different mental states (bravery, calming concentration).

Check out the video below; an adventure following Tiny, the T-Rex, who learns about looking after his teeth.

To access all videos; follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga/featured

 

 

 

Tip sheet – promoting resilience in children

Reach IN to face life’s challenges…

Reach OUT to others and opportunities that encourage healthy development.

five-ways2

Resilience is the ability to “bounce back” from life’s pressures and hard times. It helps us handle stress, overcome childhood disadvantage, recover from trauma and reach out to others and opportunities so we can grow and learn.

“Resilient” people have been shown to have happier relationships and are less prone to depression, more successful in school and jobs and even live healthier and longer lives. According to researchers at the University of Pennsyvania, there are several critical abilities that are linked with resilience and should therefore be promoted in children and adults alike. The various critical abilities are described below and are accompanied by tips for promoting them in children.

Emotional Regulation

Being in charge of our emotions enough to stay calm under pressure in order to express our emotions in ways that will help rather than hurt our situation.

Tip #1: If a child is angry, the adult must set firm and loving limits on the behaviour, for example, you could say, “It’s okay to be mad but it’s not okay to hurt yourself of someone else”. Instead provide them with other options as an outlet for their angry emotions such as drawing their “mad” feelings on paper in order to express their emotions safely and help to calm down.

Tip #2: For both children and adults, one simple way to take charge if your emotions is by taking 3 deep breaths. You can ask a small child to imagine blowing up balloons, filling their bellies with air then blowing out into the balloons.

Impulse Control

The ability to stop and choose whether to act on the desire to take action, as well as the ability to delay gratification and persevere through difficulties. Controlling our impulses helps us finish what we set out to do and plan for the future.

Tip #3: We can help young children develop impulse control by modelling it ourselves and acknowledging their achievements when they control their impulses.  For example, we can say, “You did it! It was really hard to wait, but you did it!”

Causal Analysis

The ability to analyse a problem and accurately decide what its causes are. This is because it has been found that what we think about stressful events or problems affects how we feel about them and therefore affects what we actually do about them. Resilient thinking allows us to be flexible – to step back and assess the problems and to decide how to handle it best. For example; “I can’t do anything right” is replaced with “I’ll get better at this once I have more experience.”

Tip #4: To help children think more accurately and flexibly about whether a situation is permanent or temporary, you can challenge their initial assessment of the situation.

Example 1: “I never get to be first in line” can be changed by first acknowledging the child’s feeling and then offering a gentle reminder like, or “We all get a chance to be first in line. Your turn will come too.”

Example 2: “I will never be able to do…” can be changed by reminding the child of past achievements: “You seem frustrated right now, but remember, you thought you would never be able to tie your shoe laces without my help and now you can do it all by yourself.”

Realistic Optimism

The ability to maintain hope for a bright future. This kind of optimism is not about seeing only the positive things in life and turning a blind eye to negative events, it’s about seeing things as they are and believing that we can make the best out of a situation. This is also the ability to work toward positive outcomes with the knowledge that they don’t happen automatically, but are achieved through effort, problem solving and planning.

Tip #5: To help children think about a situation with realistic optimism and consider the alternative options available, teach them to ask themselves, “What else can happen now?” or “How else could I think about this situation?”

Empathy

Empathy is often described as understanding what it is like to walk in another person’s shoes. It’s the ability to understand the feelings and needs of another person.

Tip #6: Developing empathy in children is done best when they themselves are understood and supported by those around them. This can also be broadened to recognising others’ feelings: “Jenny’s face looks sad, I wonder if she misses playing with her friend today,”

Self-Efficacy

This is the feeling of making a difference or having an impact in the world. It is the belief that what we do matters. People who possess self-efficacy believe that they have what it takes to tackle most of the problems they face and handle stress, this also reflects their ability to persevere.

Tip #7: This is developed through actual experience, we can help children by providing them choices that allow them to influence decisions that affect them. For example: “It’s cold outside. Do you want to wear your hat or pull up your hood?” This provides the child a sense of control over what they do but also provides an opportunity to succeed, which increases confidence.

Reaching Out

The ability to take on new opportunities that life presents and see mistakes as learning opportunities, this allows people to take risks and try new things.

Tip #8: We can help children want to try new things by pointing out “No one is perfect” and “Everyone makes mistakes. It is a part of how we learn.”

Tip #9: Adults also model making mistakes and fixing them: “Remember when I forgot to read the story yesterday? Today I’m going to read two stories.”

Tip #10: We can also remind children of what they have already accomplished, so that they can see that they are indeed growing and learning everyday: “When you were a baby, you couldn’t walk. And look at you now! You run so fast, I can hardly keep up with you.”