Monthly Mindful Moment: Visualization

It’s that time of the school year when days feel crammed and hectic (but somehow not long enough), with final reports, testing, performances, field trips, celebrations, and all that goes along with wrapping up another year. Summer feels a long way off, but it’ll be here before we know it.

This month’s mindful moment can help us manage the crazed sprint to the end of the year. Simply take a few minutes each morning to imagine yourself in a beautiful, peaceful place. Take a few deep breaths and notice all you see, hear, smell, and feel in this special place. When leading this activity with children, you might give them some guided prompts, such as “Imagine you see something blue and sparkling in the distance – what could it be?” or “A very tame and kind animal comes up to you, and you reach out to pet it gently.” Kids love to share what they imagined afterwards! And best of all, this practice can help us enjoy the current moments, despite the hustle and bustle, because they, too are special and wonderful.

If you’ve been enjoying this series of Monthly Mindful Moments, we will soon have the entire set of 10 flashcards available – stay tuned!

-Jillian & the Peace of Mind team 

Monthly Mindful Moment: Body Scan

Happy April! This month’s mindful moment is no April Fool’s joke – taking the time to intentionally scan each part of your body and notice how it feels can help us tune in to our feelings and emotions in a powerful way. And to make it more fun for kids to remember, we like to pretend that we’re using a flashlight while slooooowly and quietly singing “head, shoulders, knees and toes.” You can throw in other parts of the body, too, as you sing and shine, until you’ve gone from head to toe and back again. After you’re done, give your child a few extra quiet moments to notice how their body is feeling, and then talk about it together.

If you both like doing the Body Scan, try following along with our friend JusTme as he leads kids in a Body Scan a bit differently. You can check him out in this awesome video.  However you do your body scan, we hope that this practice helps you and your child feel more in tune with what your bodies are saying this month. Happy shining!

-Jillian & the Peace of Mind Team

Guest Blog Post: Memories of Peace Class

As I get ready to graduate from high school this spring, I find myself reflecting on memories and moments from my childhood. I remember being in Peace Class with Ms. Ryden back when I was a student at Lafayette Elementary School. At the time, school sometimes felt too loud and busy, and some days I found myself in need of a break from all the commotion.

Luckily, I was able to go to Peace Class, which offered me a welcome reprieve from the otherwise noisy school day. Not only did the class provide a calmer atmosphere, it also offered a lot of valuable conflict resolution skills. In particular, I remember learning about “green poison darts,” a metaphor meant to illustrate how hurtful words can be (insulting someone is like throwing a poison dart at them).

Although I never got in any particularly intense spats when I was younger, I did use the concepts I was taught. During disagreements with my brother, I would think back to the tools I’d learned in class in order to keep our arguments from escalating. I think it’s a testament to how useful the class was that I actually went home and practiced these skills in real-world situations, and since leaving elementary school, I’ve kept what I’ve learned about conflict resolutions in a mental toolbox.

Another important part of my toolbox is the way I practice mindfulness. Grounding myself with breathing exercises and calming thoughts helps me when things become stressful. Every day, I sit with my cat, Socks, either in my lap or perched on my shoulder, and I notice how my breathing and her purring seem in sync. I use this as a way of reminding myself to pause and relax, whether it’s been a calm day or a busy one.

I am so happy to know that mindfulness is such an important part of the Peace of Mind curriculum.  As a seventeen-year old, I can say with absolute certainty that it is incredibly valuable for young kids to have access to these skills to help them process their feelings. I hope that someday a class like the one at Lafayette’s will be taught across the world.

-by Eli Blackwell

Monthly Mindful Moment: Four-Square Breathing

This month’s mindful moment features a fun breathing exercise using a square shape you trace with your fingers. Its simplicity makes it easy for kids to recall and do on their own. In fact, one of our students made a home video of herself teaching others how to do four-square breathing! We’ll let Marleigh show you this one. If you enjoy it, let her show your children how to to it, too!


Jillian & the Peace of Mind team

December’s Monthly Mindful Moment: The Web of Gratitude

During December, our focus on Gratitude continues with a new mindfulness practice called the Web of Gratitude. In Peace Class we’ve been teaching our students to think about people or things they are grateful for.  Gratitude practice has been shown to be a powerful practice for personal happiness, and an important way to balance our tendency to focus on what could be better, instead of what is good in the present moment. So go ahead and give it a try yourself:

You can imagine that the little hearts are like picture frames and we are putting pictures of those for whom we are grateful in the heart frames.

Let’s start out by thinking about someone at home that you are thankful, or grateful for.  Someone who helps you and is kind to you. Imagine that they are in one of the little hearts in your web of gratitude.  Let’s send some thanks for that person. As you breathe in think “Thank you”. And as you breathe out think, “Thank you”.

Next let’s think about another kid at school.  A friend or classmate who is kind to you. Imagine that they are in one of the little hearts in your web of gratitude.  Let’s send some thanks that person. As you breathe in think “Thank you”. And as you breathe out think, “Thank you”.

Now let’s think about a grown up at school.  Someone who is kind to you and helps you. Someone you are grateful to have in your life. Imagine that they are in one of the little hearts in your web of gratitude.  Let’s send some thanks to that person. As you breathe in think “Thank you”. And as you breathe out think, “Thank you”.

Maybe there is a special animal in your life.  Maybe a pet or a stuffed animal or an animal in the wild.  Imagine that special animal in your web of gratitude. As you breathe in think “Thank you”. And as you breathe out think, “Thank you”.

Now let’s think about something in nature that you are grateful for.  Maybe there is a special tree that you love or a flower or the ocean or the moon or snow…  Choose something from nature to put into your web of gratitude. As you breathe in think “Thank you”. And as you breathe out think, “Thank you”.

Now this time you can think about anyone or anything that you are feeling grateful to have in your life.  Imagine adding that person or thing to your web of gratitude. As you breathe in think “Thank you”. And as you breathe out think, “Thank you”.

Take a moment to soak in this feeling of gratitude.  Notice what it feels like in your body to be grateful and to say thank you. Remember that you can do this practice on your own anytime.

-Linda & the Peace of Mind Team