The Mindful Jar
Another helpful tool to encourage and explain mindfulness is to create your own mindful jar. This exercise helps children to understand how strong emotions can sometimes take over, and how to calm themselves when feeling overwhelmed. You could make one jar together as a family or everyone could create their own personal jar.
You will need:
· A clear, empty jar or bottle with a lid
· Glitter or glitter glue
· Food colouring (optional)
(If you do not have any glitter at home or prefer not to use it then you can make a more eco-friendly version by using small coloured beads or buttons, a mixture of food colouring and oil, or even any tiny toys or Lego you already have around the house.)
Fill your jar or bottle nearly to the top with warm water. Add a spoonful of glitter or your chosen ingredients and screw the lid on tightly. Shake the jar vigorously to see the contents swirl together.
Explain that the jar is like our mind and its contents represent our thoughts and feelings. When we are feeling stressed, anxious and angry, they whirl around and get all mixed up, making it hard to focus. When we can’t think clearly it can be really tricky to make helpful decisions. Even grown ups feel this way too sometimes!
Stop shaking the jar and place it on the table in front of you. Watch how the glitter starts to settle and the water becomes clear. This is how your mind works when we calm down. The thoughts begin to settle and we are once again able to think clearly without our emotions taking over us. Encourage everyone to take some deep mindful breaths as you watch the contents settle. How do you feel now?
This exercise can be repeated as many times as you like and some children may wish to keep their jar somewhere safe to use to help them to calm down or relax when needed.