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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:

Plus, grab free mindfulness and kids yoga resources from my Free Resources Library here!

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    Check out my favorite mindfulness books and let me know what you think!

    Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems By Kate Coombs

    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.

    I have even used this book as a yoga book, guiding kids to breathe slowly in a pose that matched what the book is describing on each page.

    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.  Best for kids grades 2 and up. The companion book, What Does it Mean to Be Global is also a good read.

    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. 

    I like that there is just one sentence per page and very cute drawings.  Many of my students choose to read this on their own!

    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. 

    It’s a great book for explaining that feelings are important, and it’s okay to have all differnt kinds of emotions for different reasons. Good for all ages. I also use this book as a Yoga Story and come up with poses to match the feeling/descriptions on each page.

    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! Best for kids grade 1-4. The silly drawings definitely keep kids’ attention.

    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. They have a bunch in the series now, too: I Matter (Mindful Mantras)I Will Try, and more!

    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.

    The drawings are super cute and there is one pose per page. My students 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.

    Crab & Whale By Mark Pallis and Christiane Kerr

    This is a great book for younger kids, especially 4 or 5 year olds. The premise is that a whale is stuck on the beach when the tide is low and crab nearby helps her calm down. They practice breathing, listening to the water, counting colors in the sunset, and whale gets back into the water at the end. 

    Crab and Whale practice mindfulness together to get through a stressful situation. It’s cute, silly, and just the right length for little learners. Highly recommend!

    Mrs. K Begins Again: a story of resilience by Anna Kaminski

    This story is SO cute. Little Mrs K is a cat that walks into the life of the narrator and has a knack for finding trouble. Every day she gets into one issue or another, but she always starts the next day fresh.

    She practices a different breathing technique after each incident which is a great opportunity for practicing with the kids. The adorable drawings are so endearing, and you feel bad for Mrs K but also cheer for her the whole story.

    There are a lot of words and pictures so its a book that better for kids ages 7 and up with a longer attention span. Definitely a good one!

    Those are some of my favorite books for using in my Movement class when I teach mindfulness to kids.  We love using books to teach new things and promote literacy.

    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! Click on an image below.

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