“With every step we say something we’re grateful for. I’m grateful for macaroni and cheese, I’m grateful for my puppy, I’m grateful for you, that sort of thing,” Kaiser Greenland said. For older kids and adults, the gratitude can be spoken silently if they choose.
3. Shake it off
If your kid is feeling restless, Kaiser Greenland said, it can help to try something even more active.
“First thing you need to do is release some nervous energy,” she said. “If you toggle between movement and stillness, that has a more grounding effect.”
Kaiser Greenland recommends alternating a minute of movement with a few minutes of stillness. “You just shake to the sound of a beat of a drum, or you shake your arm then shake your leg,” she said.
After that, it’s time to bring your child’s attention to the sensations in their body or things in the immediate environment. “Feel your breathing. Listen to a sound. You feel your feet against the floor,” she said. “Then you shake again.”
4. Practice noticing
While many mindfulness practices involve looking inward, it’s a perspective you can bring to observing the world around you, too.
“If a child is having a hard time, I might ask them to find three blue objects in the room they’re sitting in,” said Spencer, the mindfulness educator. “Just to give them something external to focus on. That way, they can downshift their nervous system a little bit.”