At Baltimore’s Robert W. Coleman Elementary, detention has been replaced with meditation, which means kids who act out are sent to a Mindful Moment Room to calm down with breathing exercises and yoga, then spend some time reflecting on their mistakes by talking things out with a staff member.
Decorated with soothing coloring and restful furnishings and art, this room provides a place for kids to take it down a notch. They encourage breathing and meditation exercises and offer yoga — a far cry from the practice of writing lines when I was a kid!
The results have been nothing short of incredible. Tempers are cooled. Tantrums are stopped in their tracks. The school has not had a single suspension since the inception of the program. It just goes to show that even kids can benefit from the practice of mindfulness.
Check out these tips from Maria Hersey, Ph.D., the U.S. director of education and training at The Hawn Foundation, which trains educators to teach its science-based mindfulness curriculum, MindUP
- Take a “brain break.” Encourage kids to break from homework or another stressful situation totake a deep breath and calm themselves for three to five minutes to quiet their minds, be present, and just focus.
- Practice mindful awareness during everyday activities such as walking and eating, to teach kids to truly be in that moment.
- Do it with them. Set the example for your kids by taking a few moments a day to close your eyes and notice your breath, your thoughts, your emotions, and your body sensations, with kindness and curiosity.