It’s getting towards the end of the school year in my district. We are wrapping things up, saying goodbye to a year that passed so swiftly, and sending our fifth graders on to the larger horizon of middle school. Even my own daughter, Maiya, is graduating from high school! (a fact that is bittersweet for my mom heart, but I am so blessed to see her spreading her beautiful wings).
I am taking this time of organization and wrapping up the year, to squeeze in a couple of social skills groups and to create a special place in my office for the next school year. This special place, much like a relaxation station, is to be called the “Calm Monkey Mind Corner”. As I was putting it together, I thought what a great spot for kids to have to practice relaxation techniques at home this summer! Here’s some ideas on how to create it. It would be great for your home, school, daycare center or summer camp calm down spot.
I selected several key relaxation techniques, ones that can be completed in one minute or so, and laminated them on small cards. Each card has a technique listed that will “calm the monkey mind.”
To download the monkey mind card techniques click here: Calm Monkey Mind Cards
Next, I purchased some wall decals at the dollar store and stuck the monkey stickers on the wall.
Then I attached a manila folder that contained the cards and pulled up a square cushion seat to complete the corner.
The square happens to have storage inside where the relaxation materials can be stored!
Presenting the Calm Monkey Mind Corner to students, I first gave them a little background knowledge as to where the “monkey mind” concept came from. According to Wikipedia, the term arose from Chinese xinyuan and Sino-Japanese shin’en and is a Buddhist term meaning ‘unsettled; restless; capricious; whimsical; fanciful; inconstant; confused; indecisive; uncontrollable’.
Then, I further explained to students that when our minds are running “out of control,” much like a very busy little monkey swinging through the trees and scrambling to and fro, then it is very difficult to concentrate, it is easier to get upset, and it is harder to calm down. It takes practice to learn how to calm down our minds. Each of these “calm down my monkey mind” cards has a technique that helps to calm down the mind. Relaxation practice is much like a banana for a very Think of it like giving your very busy monkey mind a banana, something to do while you are building concentration. The more you practice, the easier it gets to calm down when you want to, returning to calm when you are upset.
This “Calming Down My Monkey Mind” spot in my office is a place where students can practice or can go once upset to regain calm and composure. My goal this summer is to find a furry stuffed monkey animal to place in the spot as well.
Have fun relaxing!!
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