All posts by Julie Shaffer

Creating a Sea of Calm

Amid the turbulent times in our world, even our youngest friends can benefit from lessons in mindfulness. Today, at the Lunchtime Literacy session at Fishtown Community Library, preschoolers learned about the emotionally calming effect of  coloring intricate images. 

What makes you worry? Worrying is when you think about something too much and all that thinking makes you feel bad.  We read The Don’t Worry Book by Todd Parr and explored various situations that can cause a person to worry. Our young friends identified times they have felt worried — being in darkness, visiting the doctor, flying on airplanes.  We then discussed ways to quell the worry and feel better — visiting friends, exercising, taking deep breaths. We experimented with deep breaths and simple yoga poses. Hopefully the children will be able to use those techniques if they feel worried about something in the future.

The key is to take it slow. Before age three, children generally scribble when they are coloring because they lack the fine motor skills to grip a crayon and move their fingers and wrists. Consequently, our mindfulness lesson was not about coloring within the lines, but rather, the art of coloring slowly. To practice mindfulness, one needs to slow down actions and focus the mind entirely on the single task at hand. The adult friends in attendance joined in the coloring activity and helped spread mindfulness to the entire group.