DiscoverCounselor Toolbox PodcastMindfulness and Self Regulation for Children and Adolescents
Mindfulness and Self Regulation for Children and Adolescents

Mindfulness and Self Regulation for Children and Adolescents

Update: 2021-02-162


101 Mindfulness Exercises for Children and Adolescents

Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes

Executive Director, AllCEUs


– Core Mindfulness

– Walking the Middle Path

– Distress Tolerance

– Emotion Regulation

– Interpersonal Effectiveness

– Mindfulness Exercises

– DBT Games and Activities

Core Mindfulness

– Three States of Mind

– Reasonable: School Brain, scientist, robot

– Emotional: What your heart says

– Wise: The logical choice that makes you as happy as possible

– Example: Animal rescue

– Example: Extracurricular activities

Core Mindfulness

– Wise Mind What Skills

– Observe: Be a detective. Take in the whole situation.

– Describe: Name your experiences

– Participate: Be actively involved in the moment

– Practice observing, describing and participating

– Discuss things that would stay in the way of observing, describing, participating

Core Mindfulness

– Wise Mind How Skills

– Nonjudgmental: Observable, measurable

– One mind: Focus on the task at hand. Clear your mind of everything else

– Do what works

Walking the Middle Path

– Balancing the ideas of acceptance and change

– Incorporates

– Dialectics

– Both/And

– Recognizing change is the only constant

– Validation

– Active listening

– Tolerating others

– Tolerating self

– Behaviorism

– Reinforcement

– Shaping

– Extinction of maladaptive behaviors

Walking the Middle Path

– Open your eyes to seeing things from different angles

– Change is constant. If it is stressful now; change will happen

– Find both sides of the spectrum and use a both/and approach

– Validate Self: Acknowledging what you feel nonjudgmentally

– Validate Others

Distress Tolerance

– Activities

– Contributing

– Comparison

– Emotions (the opposite)

– Push the experience from your mind

– Think about alternate things

– Sensations (intense)

Distress Tolerance

– Self-soothe with the 5 senses

– Pros and Cons

– Long term goals

– Decisional balance

Distress Tolerance

– Imagery of a relaxing place

– Meaning

– Survived similar situations

– What is important in your life (in comparison, how important is this)

– Prayer

– Relaxation

– One thing in the moment

– Vacation (mental or physical)

– Encouragement Helpful statements about self and others

Distress Tolerance

– Radical Acceptance

– Life can be tough. It isn’t fair

– Some things can’t be changed

– You don’t have to like it

– Identify

– Things you can change

– Things you cannot change

Emotion Regulation

– Identify and label primary and secondary emotions

– Strength

– Sleep

– Take care of self

– Resist unhelpful behaviors/impulsivity

– Exercise

– Nutrition

– Gain mastery

– Take time for yourself (relaxation/pleasant activities)

– Healthy self-talk

Interpersonal Effectiveness

– Cheerleading statements

– Dear Man

– Describe objectively

– Express your feelings

– Assert your wants and needs

– Reinforce by creating a win/win

– Mindful focus on the present

– Appear confident

– Negotiate

Interpersonal Effectiveness


– Fairly treat others: The Golden Rule

– Apologize when you make a mistake, not for being you

– Stick to values—What is important to you

– Tell the truth

Mindfulness Exercises

– Transformation: Creative uses for everyday objects (both/and)

– Scents and memories

– Mindful eating

– Blindfolded awareness

– Name 4 and 4

– Create a special place (guided imagery)

– Distress Hat

– Emotions collage

– Nature Observation

– Hold Ice—Pain reaction

– Self-Esteem envelope

– A movie about my life (title, stars, main plot)

– Feelings charades

DBT Games

– DBT Charms

– Self-soothing kit

– Cell phone: Heart rate monitor, knock knock jokes, funny videos, distracting music, sweet images, cathartic/validating images (Grumpy Cat)

– DBT Jeopardy

– DBT Infomercials

– Media DBT –show clips


– Adolescents are trying to discover

– Their values

– Their niche

– Their goals

– Adolescents are transitioning from the carefree childhood to trying to become adults

– Adolescents almost always have a low to moderate level of stress making them more vulnerable to emotional reactivity.


– DBT helps adolescents gain control over their emotions

– Mindfulness helps them become aware of the whats and whys of their emotions

– Most adolescents prefer an indirect approach to learning skills

– Through skills groups adolescents can

– Acquire new skills

– Relate them to something they know

– Practice them in a safe environment

– Come to the awareness for themselves why these skills are helpful


– All of these activities need to be processed and brought back around to how they can be generalized in the real world









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Mindfulness and Self Regulation for Children and Adolescents

Mindfulness and Self Regulation for Children and Adolescents

Charles Snipes