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Duration: 1–5 minutes, depending on you/your child’s age and ability to engage and concentrate.

What you will need: your breathing body, a bell or chime (optional).

This is a really helpful practice that you can use at any time of the day to calm down and focus.

Take a seat. Feel where your feet touch

the floor, feel your back straightening and

close your eyes or lower your gaze.

(If you have a bell or chime, ring it once. If

not, move straight on to the next step.)

Listen to the sound until it fades away.

Place your hand on your belly. Imagine

that you have a small balloon in your

belly and that each time you breathe in,

the balloon blows up, and each time you

breathe out, the balloon deflates.

Feel your belly rising and falling as the

balloon blows up and deflates. You don’t

need to change your breathing or breathe

in any special kind of way, just allow your

body to breathe freely and naturally.

As you breathe in, you can say to yourself

in your head, ‘Blow up balloon’ and, as you

breathe out, you can say, ‘Let all the air

out’. Perhaps you can picture the balloon

blowing up and deflating with each in and

out breath.

If you find these words too long, you could

shorten them to, ‘Blow up’ on the in-breath

and, ‘Air out’ on the out-breath.

Continue for about 30 seconds to 3 minutes,

depending on the age and attention span of the

child. You can repeat the guiding words to support

your child’s focus, leaving some brief periods of

silence (5–10 seconds) between, each time you

repeat them. About halfway through the practice,

say this next line.

If your mind wanders off into thoughts,

that’s okay, gently bring your focus back to

your breath.

(At the end of the practice, if you have a bell

or chime, ring it once.) Listen to the sound of

the bell. Wait for 10 seconds.

Gently open your eyes or raise your gaze.


After the practice, it can be helpful to ask yourself/your child what they/you noticed about the direct experience as during the practice or what you/they felt. Acknowledge that it was good that you/they noticed this experience, as that’s mindfulness.

More mindfulness practices in Uz Afzal’s Mindfulness for Children