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Calm down, settle down, take a deep breath, get a grip, take a break…
Words that I hear myself say over and over to my students every day.
They are so full of emotions and energy I can barely handle it sometimes!
The phrases I spout out at them sometimes work, and sometimes they don’t.
Kids have a hard time understanding their emotions, partly because they are still learning about what emotions feel like. And where they come from.
Self-soothing and regulation of emotions is a skill that we have to teach kids.
Mindfulness, or awareness of feelings and meditation on thoughts, is one excellent way to start teaching these imperative life skills to the children of today.
We read mindful books several times a year in my class and every time they learn something new and take away a new idea.
I like using several of these books to teach how to use your brain during savasana, or resting pose. Some of them are good for introducing a new skill like listening, compassion, and awareness of emotions.
A few books are great for reading just to help kiddos calm down after doing lots of yoga.
If you need ideas for other ways to practice mindfulness with your kids or students, check out these posts here:
- How to Use Easy and Calming Guided Imagery with Kids
- Effective and Simple Ways to Add Mindfulness to Your Kid’s Day
- 14 Clever Ways to Breathe with Your Kids to Calm Down
Plus, grab free mindfulness and kids yoga resources from my Free Resources Library here!
Check out my favorite mindfulness books and let me know what you think!
This is a sweet book with beautiful illustrations. Cute short and sweet poems, with gentle directions for calming and relaxing your body and brain. I read one or two of these to my kids when they rest for savasana. I like how they help us get ready for being calm and create a nice image in the mind. The short poems would make a good discussion question too. Calming and good for all ages!
Silence by Lemniscates
A beautiful book that has simple phrases on each page. It encourages Mindful Listening, one of the first things I work on when teaching kids to be mindful. I read this book to kids during savasana (or resting pose) because it is very calming. It would make a good bedtime story, too. Good for young kids.
What Does it Mean to be Present? by Rana DiOrio
I love this book’s illustrations and simple explanations of how to live in the moment. It gives several different explanations of how to live and think in the present moment, and why it matters. Better for kids grade 1-4.
Take the Time by Maud Roegiers
Similar to the above book, this one also has lovely images and clear examples of how mindfulness can help in real life examples. It helps kids think about the results of their actions, and possible consequences. It also gives ways to help cope with feelings of being overwhelmed.
I am Peace by Harry N. Abrams
A cute book with gorgeous illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds, I got this book at the same time as another book by the same author, I am Yoga. Both books are good for elementary age kids and have a simple message of finding calm from within.
Visiting Feelings by Lauren Rubenstein
This book is a great way to start talking about those big feelings that come into our lives. I love the way it describes how emotions can come into our lives for a while and then they will go. Great for thinking about how to manage those feelings when they DO arise! Good for all ages.
Moody Cow Meditates by Kerry Lee MacLean
A cute book, and a great companion to Peaceful Piggy Meditation. In the book, the cow learns from Grandpa how to examine emotions. A mindfulness glitter jar is a tool used, and kids can make their own after reading! Better for kids grade 1-4.
Ahn’s Anger by Gail Silver and Christianne Kromer
This long-time popular book is another one I use for talking about feelings and how to manage big emotions. The anger is personified to help kids notice that our feelings sometimes are not representative of who we actually are. Their second book, Steps and Stones is a great one, as well.
Puppy Mind by Andrew Jordan Nance
A very cute book that compares our minds to the distractibility of a puppy. After reading this book to kids, I am able to remind them that their puppy mind may be taking over and that they should use some strategies to help guide it in the right direction. It’s very effective!
I Can Handle It! (Mindful Mantras Book 1) by Laurie Wright
This book (and the others by the same author) is fabulous for giving specific situations and feelings that kids experience, and then directly name four easy options for dealing with the problem. Super relatable for kids ages 3 and up. Easy to read and refer back to at a later time.
Breathe Like a Bear by Kila Willy
I LOVE this book as a Yoga and Mindfulness teacher. The adorable images and calls to imagine are perfect for kids of any age to bring a little fun to their mindful practices. It has 30 awesome practices for breathing and mindfulness exercises. I also use the book to inspire unit plans since it is divided into 5 sections (“Be Calm,” “Focus,” “Imagine,” “Make Some Energy,” and “Relax”). This is a favorite!
Good Night Yoga: a Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story by Mariam Gates
This calming and relaxing book helps kids notice and get into their bodies for calming down before bedtime. I use this book occasionally to help kids relax before savasana. They also like the morning time version, called Good Morning Yoga.
A Quiet Place by Douglas Wood
Many teachers in my school read this book to help explain the idea behind a “break spot” in their classroom. I also read it to my kids, but mostly to help give them ideas of how to use imagery in their minds while they are resting during savasana. I let them think about where they would feel calm: in their room, in the woods, at the beach, etc. Then I can reference it during guided relaxations to help kids feel a sense of ownership over their relaxation. It is quite long but good for grades 1-5.
Charlotte and the Quiet Place by Deborah Sosin
Another awesome book about finding quiet and stillness within, this book has lovely pictures and a good story that kids can relate to. It’s better for younger kids, and has good references to how big, noisy places can sometimes affect us. Great action steps for resolving the frustration, too!
Listening to My Body by Gabi Garcia
Another awesome book to teach kids about their emotions and feelings. They learn to notice what their body is telling them, and then of course, what they can do based on that knowledge. It brings about great conversations on how to become self-aware, and then less reactionary. My students have been able to stop and think, name their feelings, and then take a more thoughtful approach to a solution. Great illustrations, too!
I can Breathe Like A… By Megan Johnson
This book is an excellent tool for educators, parents, grandparents, and kids! Written by a yoga and mindfulness educator, it is a great way to introduce or build on mindfulness practices for kids. The pictures are so cute and I love that they are full sized. The words are simple yet descriptive, and the rhyming makes it flow nicely. Young readers can read it to themselves; older readers and students will also benefit greatly from the mindful breathing practices. Each page has a small description of the breathing technique, and the visuals make it appealing throughout.
What books or tools have you used to promote mindfulness at school or at home?
Thanks for reading!
Don’t forget to join the Free Kid’s Yoga Resources Library for free printables of kid’s yoga and mindfulness resources!