Duration: 1–5 minutes, depending on you/your child’s age and ability to engage and concentrate.
What you will need: your breathing body, a bell or chime (optional).
This is a really helpful practice that you can use at any time of the day to calm down and focus.
Take a seat. Feel where your feet touch
the floor, feel your back straightening and
close your eyes or lower your gaze.
(If you have a bell or chime, ring it once. If
not, move straight on to the next step.)
Listen to the sound until it fades away.
Place your hand on your belly. Imagine
that you have a small balloon in your
belly and that each time you breathe in,
the balloon blows up, and each time you
breathe out, the balloon deflates.
Feel your belly rising and falling as the
balloon blows up and deflates. You don’t
need to change your breathing or breathe
in any special kind of way, just allow your
body to breathe freely and naturally.
As you breathe in, you can say to yourself
in your head, ‘Blow up balloon’ and, as you
breathe out, you can say, ‘Let all the air
out’. Perhaps you can picture the balloon
blowing up and deflating with each in and
If you find these words too long, you could
shorten them to, ‘Blow up’ on the in-breath
and, ‘Air out’ on the out-breath.
Continue for about 30 seconds to 3 minutes,
depending on the age and attention span of the
child. You can repeat the guiding words to support
your child’s focus, leaving some brief periods of
silence (5–10 seconds) between, each time you
repeat them. About halfway through the practice,
say this next line.
If your mind wanders off into thoughts,
that’s okay, gently bring your focus back to
(At the end of the practice, if you have a bell
or chime, ring it once.) Listen to the sound of
the bell. Wait for 10 seconds.
Gently open your eyes or raise your gaze.
After the practice, it can be helpful to ask yourself/your child what they/you noticed about the direct experience as during the practice or what you/they felt. Acknowledge that it was good that you/they noticed this experience, as that’s mindfulness.