Keeping Daily Practice Fresh
Whether you are trying HMHB on your own or doing a full program, you gotta keep things fresh sometimes with daily practice to keep kids engaged.
In our full programs we include supplemental practices that can be done instead of or addition to daily practice to expand our experiences (and keep things different every lesson), but from the day to day you can try these strategies to keep daily practice an active practice for kids.
1) Do partner practice. Sitting back to back is great for kids to stay sitting up and aware. You can even begin or end your practice with feeling your partners back with your back and trying to match your breath up together slowly.
2) Change location. A change of scenery always does practice good. Going outside is especially nice. If you do practice sitting in a chair, sit on the floor. If you do it in a classroom, try it in the library! At the beginning of your practice take advantage of the new scene to isolate the senses by taking a minute or two to simply hear or feel what's going on in the new space.
3) Take turns leading. Getting tired of listening to the audio recording? Try leading practice yourself as the group leader or have kids take turns (but try this after a few months of practice so kids can lead with decent accuracy.) Take this opportunity to make sure kids CAN do it on their own. This could mean you have one child guide out loud or the group do it together-- if they make mistakes, great! This in an opportunity to address them so they know the daily practice for themselves more confidently.
4) Change the group shape. If you're all sitting in a circle, try sitting in a triangle or a square. Try doing it as individuals with space in between everyone. Try sitting in your circle, but with your backs turned toward one another (this is especially helpful if kids have trouble focusing.) Try sitting on top of your desk cross-legged instead of in your seat. On days when kids are especially warn out, you can do practice laying down on the ground (but save this for special occasions only!)
5) Be totally silent. Try practice without the audio recording and with everyone completely silent the whole time. The group leader can hold up signs or write on a chalkboard the steps to make sure everyone does each part.
6) Invite other staff, class or family members to join you. In our full programs we have the HMHB Practice Party where we officially invite friends and family to the daily practice. Having a guest can be special, so take the opportunity to encourage kids to be on their best behavior and try their best as a show of respect for their guest (allowing them to fully experience the practice.) A guest could even be a stuffed animal or toy too!
7) Drop your mind challenge. Some days fitting in practice can be a challenge but still do something. Challenge kids with a drop your mind challenge where as a group they can see how long they can go successfully with their minds dropped. Make this a monthly or weekly challenge to see if kids can increase their times.