Dr. Willard has been practicing meditation for over 20 years, and teaching for almost as long. His thoughts on mental health have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, mindful.org, cnn.com, and elsewhere.

Mindfulness for Kids 1: Calm Reminder

with Dr. Christopher Willard & Hunter Clarke-Fields

Join Hunter Clarke-Fields and Dr. Christopher Willard in this special series of mindfulness practices for kids! Mindfulness offers kids a powerful tool for managing the pressures of school, peer relationships, and the increasing digital distractions, ultimately promoting their overall emotional intelligence and promoting a healthier, more balanced approach to life. 

[Mindfulness For Kids 1] Calm Reminder

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Hunter: You're listening to a Mindfulness for Kids episode of the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Today, we're practicing a calm reminder.

Welcome to the Mindful Parenting Podcast. Here, it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent or kid. I'm your host, Hunter Clark Fields. I help smart Thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong connected relationships with their children. I'm the creator of the Mindful Parenting course and I'm the author of the best selling book Raising Good Humans and Now Raising Good Humans Every Day.

I'm joined by Dr. Christopher Willard, clinical psychologist, author, and dad. He is the author of 20 books including Alpha Breaths and Growing Up Mindful. Both of us have been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years and we are so excited to share the benefits.

Chris, welcome to the very first Mindfulness for Kids episode of the Mindful Parenting

[00:00:59] Dr. Christopher Willard: podcast. This, you think, I love your work. I love your podcast. Like how do we collaborate more? And here we are. So like this I'm looking forward to this. Hopefully people out there in podcast land will enjoy it and we'll

[00:01:11] Hunter: see.

Yes. All right. So what do you have for me today, Chris?

[00:01:15] Dr. Christopher Willard: I know we talked about, what are all the dream effects of mindfulness. And I think the number one one for kids and for families is often calm, right? We think that mindfulness is about calm and it's, it can be a great side effect of mindfulness.

So I've got a little practice about calm. Does that work for you?

[00:01:36] Hunter: Let's do it. I'm excited to

[00:01:38] Dr. Christopher Willard: practice. Alright, cool. So this is, it's called CALM, it's called the CALM Reminder and it's actually a really easy acronym. So C stands for Chest, A stands for Arms, L is for Legs, and M is for Mouth.

It's a little bit of a relaxation, we're going to relax our bodies. That can help us to sleep. It can help us to get to know our bodies a little bit better like a body scan. But we're just going to do this together. You can sit, you can stand, you can lay down, whatever is comfortable for you. Thank you. And are you ready?

I'm ready. All right. So I'll invite you, if you like, you can close your eyes, or you can just leave them open. And we'll start with just a couple of breaths, just knowing that we're breathing and slowing down our breath.

And on the next breath for C, I'll invite you to breathe in, almost like you're shining a light throughout your entire chest and torso for C. Let's just see what we notice. Is your breath up high, or is it down low?

Is your heart beating fast or beating more slow?

Does your chest feel tight or loose, warm or cool?

What might these sensations be telling you? And then, I invite you to tense those muscles. Squeeze those muscles through your chest. Feel that tension. And then just let go. And as you let go, just feel the tension flow out, and breathing in, feeling just some relaxation and calm flow in.

And then, on the next breath, breathing in, and then imagining you're following your awareness with your breath all the way down into your arms and hands. I know when I feel stressed or worried, sometimes my hands shake a little bit and I can just invite my hands to become still

and just getting curious. Are your hands old and clammy, hot and sweaty, further up through your arms, noticing any other sensations there, up to your shoulders, which I often feel some tension in when I'm feeling worried about something, and then just squeeze, starting squeezing your hands into fists and up through your arms and shoulders, feel the tension.

And then as you breathe out, you can just breathe all that tension out.

Breathe some relaxation into your arms for A.

And breathe some tension and stress back out.

And then following your breath up and then down into L for your legs.

And some of us, when we're a little distracted or something's going on, our legs are bouncing up and down a little bit. And just invite them to be still. Let them relax and become still.

Notice any other sensations. And your feet, and your legs, and thighs, and then clench these muscles, squeeze one foot, squeeze the other foot, ankles, calves, thighs, feel the tension,

and then just release. Breathing out as you breathe out the tension, breathing in as you breathe in calm.

And then lastly, up to your head, and your mouth, and jaw,

which is also, I guess my jaw hurting sometimes, it usually means I've got something on my mind. You might even notice right now what kind of expression is on your face. What's it communicating outward to the world? And what's it communicating about your emotions back to you right now? And

you can try clenching your jaw and your mouth, even squeezing your eyes a little bit. Feels funny. Feel that tension. And then just let it all go as you breathe out.

And you can allow your mouth just to, if it feels natural, just to let a little smile play over your lips.

And feeling that smile spreading through your face and your body,

wonderful mindfulness teacher used to like to say sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile is the source of your joy, and you can just let your whole body smile. And if your eyes were closed, you can just... Blink your eyes open, or you can just stay calm, go to sleep, whatever you want to do.

So that's the calm reminder, and it's a good one for calming down when you're ready to calm down, or when you can't sleep, or when you need a little moment. And I learned that somewhere, and I can't even remember where I picked it up, but it's always stuck with me, and it makes one person calm, which is what we always hope for, in this world.

[00:07:58] Hunter: I feel so much calmer now, Chris. Thank you so much.

[00:08:03] Dr. Christopher Willard: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

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