My four kids range from toddler to teenager, and I find that no matter their stage in life I am always looking for ways to help them increase their mindfulness. Whether they’re processing complicated, difficult emotions in their early teen years, or just learning to practice being still for just a little while (please, for the love…) in their toddler years, mindfulness is at the root of it all.
If you’re in the same boat as me and could use some help in this area, try these wonderful children’s books about mindfulness. They’re all terrific resources to help your kids get centered and ready to face the world.
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The brand new picture book Quiet by Tomie dePaola is peaceful and fresh. It’s the kind of book you can pull your preschooler into your lap to read, and it’s just…calm. The book ends with the children saying that, when they are quiet, they can think and hear. It’s a great conversation starter for finding out what’s on your kids’ minds.
I love that Miriam Gates’ new This Moment Is Your Life has just the right about of fun for a tween who might roll their eyes a little when you mention “mindfulness.” It teaches older adolescents how to let go of distractions (from screens to worries) and just be present. It has plenty of engaging activities for them to complete, including some fun five-day challenges at the end. (Photo via illustrator Libby VanderPloeg’s site.)
Shown at very top, the book Just Breathe: Meditation, Movement, Mindfulness and More by Mallika Chopra (yes, of that Chopra family) is really a how-to book for kids 8-12, full of guided meditations and breathing techniques. If your kids are having trouble sleeping, dealing with anxious thoughts or struggling to focus on their school work, I think it can help, with gorgeous illustrations by Brenna Vaughan to really make it inclusive and accessible.
A longtime favorite children’s books about mindfulness for us is What Does it Mean to be Present, the third in the series of author Rana DiOrio’s wonderful “What Does it Mean…“ series — and it’s just been reprinted in a new edition. It describes to kids how being present is about noticing someone in your class who needs help, or hearing the rain, or actually tasting an orange. Through simple prose and lovely illustrations, it provides a clear way to help kids discover mindfulness through presence and thoughtfulness.
If you love the idea of helping your kids connect with the earth, marvel at the natural world, and connect deeply with their emotions, then I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde and Peter Reynolds is the children’s book about mindfulness for you and your family. It’s all about being present and experiencing the here-and-now, with mindfulness principles explained simply for even young children.
Children’s books about mindfulness are often about managing anxiety and worry. And one of the best ways for a worried child (or adult) to calm themselves, is to breathe deeply. But, for some reason, that’s not something that necessarily comes naturally. So for kids who really get stuck here, the 2018 release, My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing by Nick Ortner, Allison Taylor and Michelle Polizzi will help. It’s interactive and engaging, and there’s something pretty cool about thinking about your own breath as a magical cure for a lot of what ails you.
Despite the title, the new Mindfulness for Kids: 30 Fun Activities to Stay Calm, Happy and In Control is about way more than a list of activities. Here, authors Carol P. Roman and J. Robin Albertson-Wren present stories about kids in real-life scenarios, like a nerve-wracking presentation at school, losing something important to them, or that moment when you have to tell your parents you’ve screwed up. Then, they walk readers through the scenario using mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, making a gratitude list, and “counting to calm” to help lessen the anxiety of these moments. This is very real-world practical for any kid, not just those who are struggling. And frankly, pretty great for adults, too.