‘Rest Your Mind Time’- Mindfulness At Age 4
by Jen Armstrong
I took care of a little girl this week who at the age of 4 already has her own mindfulness routine she has learnt from nursery which is called ‘Rest Your Mind Time’. Not only has she remembered it and been able to conduct her little sequence at home, but upon expressing my keen interest in it, she was able to talk me through it step by step. She didn’t miss out a thing! The breathing, lighting, and reminding me to ‘bend your back’ when saying namaste and in order to show the full expression.
This all started as she wanted to make a ‘mind jar’ from the bits that her mum had left for her to play with. I prepared a jar within which she added some glitter, sand and filled to the top with water. Once finished she shook the jar and told me that it was showing a ‘busy mind’ and once it slowed down and the sand and glitter settled, it was showing a calm mind.
This is then when she wanted to show me her mindfulness routine she had learnt in nursery. We turned down the lights, got some cushions to sit on, lit a candle and began by shaking the mind jar again.. and once it had settled again then her routine began. It included a deep breathing technique, a song about the sky above and earth below and peace within our hearts, and extinguishing the candle at the end.
I was quite taken aback with how aware this little girl was of her feelings and of being able to calm her mind. It also made me think about how this will positively impact her emotional regulatory capacities and make her better able to deal with her ‘busy mind’ as an older child and into adulthood.
Surely this should be how every child learns? Doesn’t it seem clear as day that this sort of emotional, character education will alleviate so many children’s inability to deal with emotions which all too easily manifest into metal health issues even before reaching the end of primary school?
If you’re reading this thinking, my child’s nursery/childminder/prep school would never provide this, then don’t fret! That is what we are here for, to help you bring elements of mindfulness into your home. Being involved with your child’s education and development starts within the home anyway! You are the most consistent person in your child’s life who will always be there to instil the same values each day.
So have a try today! Keep reading below for the steps of how to make your own mind jar to help create your own ‘Rest Your Mind Time’ routine at home.
How to make and use your own mind jar:
What you’ll need:
Food colouring (optional)
1. Find an old jar, a small ish one will do. Maybe an old jam jar. One for
2. Clean any labels and glue off it so it’s a clean surface.
3. Fill the jar close to the top with water
4. Add some glitter/sequins/sand
5. Add some food colouring (optional)
6. Close the lid tight!
7. Add gems/sequins to the jar/lid (optional)
8. You’re ready to go!
Explain to your little one that when you shake the jar, the glitter and sand moving about inside represents your mind feeling busy. If they are a little older you may be able to explain that it reflects actual feelings such as stress, worry, anxiety or just too many thoughts racing round your mind. Whatever their age, you can then explain that when the glitter and sand settles, this is your mind calming.
You can use this whenever you need as a visual representation of what is going on in their minds if they are quite worked up, anxious, having a tantrum etc.. it is also making then aware that they are not their mind. They can choose to calm themselves and the process of watching the jar settling in itself will be a calming process. You can also model this to your child too! Demonstrating and explaining the symbolism of the jar will help reinforce its great benefits in the child’s growing brain.
Use the Jar to help create your own mindfulness routine too! Maybe it’s something you can start doing together just before bedtime, or at a time where you would like to relax and share your feelings for the day to encourage communication.
Have a try! We would love to hear about and see your own ‘Rest Your Mind Time’ routines or ‘mind jars’ so please feel free to share on our social media #hereforyouforthem or contact us directly!
Choose to positively impact your happiness, and theirs x