by Lori Barnum



Parents – if you are reading this perhaps you have a teacher introducing mindful meditation into their classroom and you want to better understand mindful meditation or maybe you are a home schooling parent and you need tools to get your child to refocus and be on task. Awesome! Your child is going to benefit in HUGE ways and I am truly excited for you.

What is ‘mindfulness,’ and why is it important? Mindfulness is an opportunity for self-reflection and has a large range of profound effects. With consistent practice mindfulness can physically change the human brain. MRI scans show after 8 weeks of practicing mindfulness the amygdala, or the ‘flight or fright’ portion of the brain, shrinks. The amygdala is the primal region of the brain that deals with fear and emotion. By practicing mindfulness a person can experience a decrease in stress hormones, less negative emotions and increases a person’s ability to deal with stress. It increases awareness, concentration and decision-making. As the amygdala shrinks the rest of brain begins to make greater connections associated with attention and concentration.

Now, that’s just one part of the brain. Meditating develops the hippocampus (empathy and self-control), pons (sleep), the temporal parietal junction (selflessness) and the Posterior Cingulate (focus). It is exercise for the brain. We teach our children to eat well for a strong mind and body but for the brain we have to more than just limit junk foods and sugar. Meditation is key.

Mindfulness also works on impulse control and its really great to children to recognize when their attention has wandered. Students suffering from focusing issues, anxiety disorder, depression, ADD or ADHD would benefit from learning to be aware of their body, breathing and their thoughts. If these processes go  unchecked, it can exacerbate their symptoms.  Mindfulness is a practice and over time results can be seen.

In my classroom I share the following:

My favorite article is:

Meditation: The Key to Your Happiness. There is a plethora of articles to the left side of the website and scroll down to the bottom for a ton more. GREAT INFO!

and Meditation for Children:

There are a ton of great videos:

An overall understanding of why education is moving toward meditation curriculum. Effects of Meditation in the Classroom –

For your older child: How Does Meditation Change the Brain – Egghead #54 –

For the younger children – is great to introduce mindfulness meditation.

Supporting your child in this will provide them long lasting benefits. I tell my students, “Take these tools with you into life because life will throw you some curves. Pick up these tools and use them and you will develop grit and be happier.”


Tough Teaching Day? Have Them Meditate

(2 to 3 minutes is all you need)

By Lori Barnum


There are a lot of tough teaching days. Sometimes those diversions are fire drills, the day before break, state testing stress, or myriad of other distractions.

I use this easy, quick 2 to 3 minute technique to bring calm to my classroom.

I saw meditation work best on my least favorite holiday. Halloween. Halloween is one of the worst dreaded days of the year to teach. The students’ minds are on their costumes, their evening plans and the excitement of a pillow case full of candy. Getting the kids to focus is especially tough if they have already started hitting the sugar at home. I also have a lot of curriculum to get through so I don’t like to fill those days with meaningless activities. As usual, this last Halloween the kids came into classroom loud, rambunctious and full of energy and, truthfully, I came to work with a pretty negative attitude expecting, well…just that. I got through first period and realized there was a strong possibility it would not be a productive day. It was only 8:45 a.m. and the energy had become overwhelming. I needed to uses my chaos to calm method of classroom management.

After my second period loudly shuffled in I turned off my lights. I told the students that we were going to take a few minutes to regroup and refocus. I had them close their eyes and take deep breaths from their belly. I asked that as they exhaled if they would release all the excess energy and tell themselves to relax.




The silence was deafening. You could feel the shift in energy and the relief in their body language that they were given a moment to calm themselves. They wanted the peace. They wanted to focus. With the lights off I told them that I was going to turn the lights back on and what expectations I had for them. I allowed a few more moments and then I turned on the lights and continued my lesson. The energy had shifted. They got to work and worked hard. I used this for every period throughout my day and the kids truly appreciated it.

There are some days that the kids recognize they feel overwhelmed and ask to meditate. I love their self-awareness.