In the consideration of time, this week’s blog is going to be short and sweet.
Last week we looked at what you could do to bring some mindfulness to your life during the holiday season, today is going to be a real quick list for some mini-mindful activities/moments to try with your students.
Regardless of what you have planned, focusing on breathing, gratitude and slowing down may be some great themes to balance the busyness and excitement of this season.
Balloon breathing OR Ocean Breathing
This is a great way to get students to stop and really focus on their breathing: use a balloon. Just teaching them this simple skill of balloon breathing may be a great “go to” when they are a little energetic or anxious. Continually demonstrate this and they may start to rely on it in other classrooms and situations!
Thank you cards
Encourage students to think about how many people help them throughout their school day. As a class, write thank you cards people in the school who they may forget to thank: janitors, bus drivers, lunch aids. This is a great way to extend the holiday giving spirit to those often unsung heroes in a school!
Instead of a Christmas tree, put up a Gratitude Tree (and consider keeping it up all year long!). Students can create little “ornaments” with their gratitudes written on them. They can decorate them, focusing on the kindness others have given them. It’s nice when all of the students can see the gratitudes others wrote!
Random Act of Kindness Challenge
For a day or a week, create a challenge for all students to participate in doing random acts of kindness. Create a goal and have students keep track of their random acts by reporting in each morning. Having a running list of all the caring things that they did may inspire them to keep performing these random acts after the challenge is over. If they meet their goal, have a celebration (perhaps pairing this with the following activity!) Check out the website Compassion Games (compassiongames.org) to make your acts of kindness part of a world wide challenge!
Secret Holiday Pals
Instead of a Secret Santa, Gift Exchange or White Elephant, have students exchange names and do acts of kindness for the person whose name they receive. Before the holiday break, have the Secret Pals reveal themselves presenting a card and handcrafted gift (no buying allowed!) and talk about all of the secretly kind things everyone has been doing and how it feels to give and receive these kind of gifts.
Although this list is certainly not exhaustive, it will hopefully get you started in helping students practice some mindfulness during the busy holiday season and give them experiences they can hold onto that may be more valuable than something bought from the store. And if we’re lucky, some of these things will keep them preoccupied so that we can sail smoothly into the calming harbors of the holiday vacation! Wishing you an enjoyable holiday filled with exactly what you need!