Image from New York Nursery and Child’s Annual Hospital Report, 1910


I’ve seen this article shared a bunch of times on Facebook about how using meditation has improved behavior at a school.  I’ve actually used a similar technique in the classroom and I can attest to how well it works. I learned about this meditation technique from a hypnotherapist that was recommended by my pediatrician to help with anxiety. This method takes it a step further by teaching the kids how to immediately return to that calm state of mind no matter where they are—even if they’re about to take a test, for example.

Last year, I taught creative writing to kids who did not necessarily choose creative writing as an elective, and therefore were very resistant to it.  Basically, if they didn’t choose an elective or their parents and didn’t submit the form, they were put into my class. Thus, I had some kids who were defiant or who simply could not stop talking, especially the seventh grade group who came in amped up right after lunch.

Teaching creative writing is difficult enough with kids who want to do it, but more so with kids who don’t. I needed a way to calm them down and hopefully teach them something they could continue using.

  • Tell the kids to shut their eyes and visualize a safe, calm space. The kids do this in their own heads and keep it to themselves. You could tell them, “It could be anywhere– outer space, a beach, your bedroom– wherever you like.” Tell them to picture the scene’s details fully—what are they hearing? Smelling? Who’s with them, or are they alone? And so on.
  • After a few minutes, tell them to open their eyes.
  • Instruct them to choose a secret signal, such as thumbs up, or crossing their fingers or toes, or whatever they want.
  • Now they do their secret signal and go back to visualizing for a few more minutes.

The idea is that they practice visualizing while they perform their signal. Then, if they need to be calm, they do their signal (thumbs-up) and their mind is automatically taken back to that place of calmness. The more they practice, the better they will get.

I was surprised at how well this simple exercise worked. Kids even told me they used it to help them calm down and focus in other classes.

Try it out.