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Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children

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Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children is the fruit of decades of development and innovation in the Plum Village community's collective practice with children. Based on Thich Nhat Hanh's thirty years of teaching mindfulness and compassion to parents, teachers, and children, the book and enclosed CD covers a wide range of contemplative and fun activities paren Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children is the fruit of decades of development and innovation in the Plum Village community's collective practice with children. Based on Thich Nhat Hanh's thirty years of teaching mindfulness and compassion to parents, teachers, and children, the book and enclosed CD covers a wide range of contemplative and fun activities parents and educators can do with their children or students. They are designed to help relieve stress, increase concentration, nourish gratitude and confidence, deal with difficult emotions, touch our interconnection with nature, and improve communication. Planting Seeds offers insight, concrete activities, and curricula that parents and educators can apply in school settings, in their local communities or at home, in a way that is meaningful and inviting to children. The key practices presented include mindful breathing and walking, inviting the bell, pebble meditation, the Two Promises or ethical guidelines for children, children's versions of Touching the Earth and Deep Relaxation, eating meditation and dealing with conflict and strong emotions. Also included are the lyrics to the songs on the enclosed CD that summarize and reinforce the key teachings, as well as a chapter on dealing effectively with conflict in the classroom or difficult group.


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Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children is the fruit of decades of development and innovation in the Plum Village community's collective practice with children. Based on Thich Nhat Hanh's thirty years of teaching mindfulness and compassion to parents, teachers, and children, the book and enclosed CD covers a wide range of contemplative and fun activities paren Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children is the fruit of decades of development and innovation in the Plum Village community's collective practice with children. Based on Thich Nhat Hanh's thirty years of teaching mindfulness and compassion to parents, teachers, and children, the book and enclosed CD covers a wide range of contemplative and fun activities parents and educators can do with their children or students. They are designed to help relieve stress, increase concentration, nourish gratitude and confidence, deal with difficult emotions, touch our interconnection with nature, and improve communication. Planting Seeds offers insight, concrete activities, and curricula that parents and educators can apply in school settings, in their local communities or at home, in a way that is meaningful and inviting to children. The key practices presented include mindful breathing and walking, inviting the bell, pebble meditation, the Two Promises or ethical guidelines for children, children's versions of Touching the Earth and Deep Relaxation, eating meditation and dealing with conflict and strong emotions. Also included are the lyrics to the songs on the enclosed CD that summarize and reinforce the key teachings, as well as a chapter on dealing effectively with conflict in the classroom or difficult group.

30 review for Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    (5) Practical applications aside, this is an easy read and even easier to incorporate into daily life. Highly recommend for anyone who is struggling to gain an understanding of mindfulness and anyone who works with children and teens. I will definitely buy a copy for my personal collection!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Lots of good mindfulness exercises to do with wiggly kids; visualizations; explanations were helpful for talking with kids too

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This is such a great book written like a lesson plan for a group of kids (little ones to teenage). I plan on starting one where we coul get together once a week and go through the book. It deserves 5+ stars! I checked this out from the library, but I am planning on buying my own copy. There is an option to get this for a kindle, but then you don't get the CD, which not only is great with the book but could be used as a background music for a kids yoga class. This book is wonderful and I hope man This is such a great book written like a lesson plan for a group of kids (little ones to teenage). I plan on starting one where we coul get together once a week and go through the book. It deserves 5+ stars! I checked this out from the library, but I am planning on buying my own copy. There is an option to get this for a kindle, but then you don't get the CD, which not only is great with the book but could be used as a background music for a kids yoga class. This book is wonderful and I hope many enjoy it and share with children, it would make such a difference in this world!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Found the exercises to be really great. I saved them to use with my girls. This has more information for classrooms than individual families, and more for little kids than bigger ones. It also has more of a Buddhist focus than I use with mindfulness, but it's thoughtful and helpful. Found the exercises to be really great. I saved them to use with my girls. This has more information for classrooms than individual families, and more for little kids than bigger ones. It also has more of a Buddhist focus than I use with mindfulness, but it's thoughtful and helpful.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    I love all things Thich Nhat Hanh. That being said, this is a lovely tool for raising mindful, present children. I enjoyed reading through this slowly, taking time to absorb the material. It's a book I wouldn't mind having on my shelf as a reference. I love all things Thich Nhat Hanh. That being said, this is a lovely tool for raising mindful, present children. I enjoyed reading through this slowly, taking time to absorb the material. It's a book I wouldn't mind having on my shelf as a reference.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Great guide with lots of practical activities. A real pleasure to read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jim Thompson

    My rating here might be a little skewed, because though this was good, it was not what I expected it to be. Not quite fair to rate something based on my own misconceptions of what I was about to read, so maybe bump this up to a 3 1/2 or a 4. What I was looking for was a book to help me introduce my kids to meditation. Or rather, to help them go more deeply into meditation practice, help them make it a more regular thing. My 13 year old has a bit of experience, my 6 year old some marginal experie My rating here might be a little skewed, because though this was good, it was not what I expected it to be. Not quite fair to rate something based on my own misconceptions of what I was about to read, so maybe bump this up to a 3 1/2 or a 4. What I was looking for was a book to help me introduce my kids to meditation. Or rather, to help them go more deeply into meditation practice, help them make it a more regular thing. My 13 year old has a bit of experience, my 6 year old some marginal experience, and I'm very interested in helping them get more out of it, helping them make it a useful, meaningful practice. I realize that just having them imitate my practice isn't going to work for them-- they are not middle-aged-office-worker-dads. This book does have tips and insights and sample guided meditations for working with young kids, and I was happy to find that stuff, but overall the book is geared more toward teachers who want to introduce kids to mindfulness, or to children's-group leaders at Buddhist retreats and meditation centers. Many of the practices are group-oriented (which is not a bad thing at all) and some just wouldn't be appropriate for a parent to try to lead (like, the ones teaching kids to be patient with their parents; would be pretty self-serving). None of it's bad; like I said, a lot of is just other than the exact thing I was looking for. That said, I will certainly implement some of this stuff. Some of it (the Pebble Meditation, for instance) is stuff that I can do with my daughter almost right away. And some of it will translate to my work in the human service field. Though I typically work with adults and older teens, much of the focus on compassion and listening has obvious value in that field, isn't only about how we interact with young children. And, as always, Thich Nhat Hanh's philosophy of "interbeing," of "no independent origination," permeates the book. And that's a good thing.

  8. 5 out of 5

    passeriform

    I'm not a Buddhist, but I do find meditation and mindfulness practices really helpful, and I particularly got a lot out of Thich Nhat Hanh's book The Blooming of a Lotus waaaay back when I was an undergrad. I remember the simplicity of the practices, and the way they helped me ground myself during some angsty periods of my life. So when I saw Planting Seeds, I hoped it would help me figure out ways to start passing these tools along to my two young children. There's a lot to like here, and a lot I'm not a Buddhist, but I do find meditation and mindfulness practices really helpful, and I particularly got a lot out of Thich Nhat Hanh's book The Blooming of a Lotus waaaay back when I was an undergrad. I remember the simplicity of the practices, and the way they helped me ground myself during some angsty periods of my life. So when I saw Planting Seeds, I hoped it would help me figure out ways to start passing these tools along to my two young children. There's a lot to like here, and a lot to take away. (I should say I haven't actually tried any of this with my nearly-six-year-old yet, because I just finished reading the book.) Although the text is clearly rooted in a Buddhist set of beliefs, it's pretty easy to set aside what doesn't fit for your family and use what does, even if you're totally secular or practice a different faith: the text actually invites us to do so on a number of occasions. The activities and practices are simple, clear, and mostly very appealing. Some require larger groups (as in a school or retreat setting), but others work for individual children. The book is easy to read and interesting. Perhaps my favorite thing about it is its deeply loving tone, its way of taking children as real, whole people worthy of respect as well as affection.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emily Anderson

    So helpful, sometimes reading how to teach something can help you learn even more. I started reading this wanting to bring some mindfulness practices into my relationship with my son and to prepare to teach him as he grows. There are so many practical activities which hardly require any materials. I love the CD that comes along with the book, I play it whenever my son and I are in the car it helps me stay centered while I'm driving and it helps keep him calm too. Based on what I've learned I'm w So helpful, sometimes reading how to teach something can help you learn even more. I started reading this wanting to bring some mindfulness practices into my relationship with my son and to prepare to teach him as he grows. There are so many practical activities which hardly require any materials. I love the CD that comes along with the book, I play it whenever my son and I are in the car it helps me stay centered while I'm driving and it helps keep him calm too. Based on what I've learned I'm working on a workshop for children in my spiritual community.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cyndie Courtney

    Full of calming and useful group and individual exercises for helping kids build focus, understanding, compassion, and equanimity. While it can be used for parents and in a more secular context - is most applicable for teachers and caregivers within a group setting and has strong Buddhist specific references.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Maeve

    A guide to meditation and mindfulness for parents (and those who interact with children daily). It includes information on different practices/exercises/activities as well as the steps to incorporate it into daily life.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    WOW. So many families would appreciate this book! Many useful and meaningful practices I practically dog-eared each page. Between visualizations, art ideas, and movement inspiration, we're definitely going to incorporate a lot of these practices at home. WOW. So many families would appreciate this book! Many useful and meaningful practices I practically dog-eared each page. Between visualizations, art ideas, and movement inspiration, we're definitely going to incorporate a lot of these practices at home.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Halden

    Some great exercises for working with children.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michaela

    I love how this book is like a little lesson plan for mindfulness. It shows us how we can instill mindful thoughts and self reflection into children.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amy Makortoff

    Absolutely love this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Handy book for practices involving children and staying present --

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    Really beautiful book, full of great ideas and super inspiring stories and advice to practice mindfulness whatever your age :). The CD is super too including very good singing!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bllu Catalano

    Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children by Thich Nhat Hanh is essential reading for those who work with children or who wish to help their own children learn meditative practices. This is for all spiritual backgrounds and traditions. Don’t get hung up on this being Buddhist. These practices are not specific to any religion. They are a system. Every human, however young, has the power to develop their spiritual self, the teachings say. Some commune with god or God, some with nature. Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children by Thich Nhat Hanh is essential reading for those who work with children or who wish to help their own children learn meditative practices. This is for all spiritual backgrounds and traditions. Don’t get hung up on this being Buddhist. These practices are not specific to any religion. They are a system. Every human, however young, has the power to develop their spiritual self, the teachings say. Some commune with god or God, some with nature. The goal is that we commune, and that we find ways to help our children connect to the goodness in the world. Whatever the wisdom is labeled, the reader of this book is provided with a wonderful guide for helping children lower stress and anxiety. No more need be said. For our times, that's essential reading. But to say more, Buddhist practice springs from shedding judgement and learning ways to connect to the compassionate, loving self. As parents and caregivers, this intention touches the essence of our challenge with kids: how to limit our baggage, how to nurture and encourage uniqueness. The more we give care to the young, the more we realize our own hangups, and the wisdom contained in this book give parents tools to practice kindness to ourselves and others, and by so doing, teach. This book draws on decades of development at the Plum Village community, where children are invited to stay with parents. The chapters provide stories and wisdom in the simple, concise manner that has made Thich Nhat Hanh an accessible and popular author--and an effective leader. There are many stories and anecdotes provided to show how some of these wisdoms developed and were employed. I highly recommend this book for caregivers of any kind. Each and every trick for relaxing, letting go, and connecting to the loving self is worth its weight in gold. Teaching a child to help de-escalate stress or tension is a gift that will grow and help them for the rest of their lives. If you seek tools to help your younger students or family with lowering tension as well as gaining better insight into themselves, this book is for you.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I will edit this review when I have finished the book. But, I absolutely relate to the idea of firstly taking care of myself, then my children/family and then my community. This book answers my need on how to model mindfulness to my children, while learning the tools of taking care of myself.Ad nourishing and sustaining my relationships. I enjoy the CD. The music is very calming for me, and the guided meditation is helpful. I have been looking at how to combine Buddhism with family life. I am a pare I will edit this review when I have finished the book. But, I absolutely relate to the idea of firstly taking care of myself, then my children/family and then my community. This book answers my need on how to model mindfulness to my children, while learning the tools of taking care of myself.Ad nourishing and sustaining my relationships. I enjoy the CD. The music is very calming for me, and the guided meditation is helpful. I have been looking at how to combine Buddhism with family life. I am a parent at home with two young children and not able to practice as a monk/nun would practice. I also am more drawn to a Buddhism without specific beliefs. Essentially, I feel like this book makes Buddhism available in the context of leaning emotional regulation and nurturing social relationships - within a family context. Two goals that have been sorely missing from my experience of religion and life. These issues are very acute in my life, living in Israel. This book gives me the tools to address the social injustice in our region, in a gentle and compassionate way.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carly

    This was a very good book. I think all parents and educators should read it. If not to follow it's lessons precisely, at least to get a feel for the idea of increasing mindfulness in our children and our teaching. Do not let the idea that it is based in Buddhism fool you into thinking that any other religious person could not benefit from it. I have found that most Buddhist teachings I have read firmly believe that no one should convert to Buddhism, but they feel that some of their practices cou This was a very good book. I think all parents and educators should read it. If not to follow it's lessons precisely, at least to get a feel for the idea of increasing mindfulness in our children and our teaching. Do not let the idea that it is based in Buddhism fool you into thinking that any other religious person could not benefit from it. I have found that most Buddhist teachings I have read firmly believe that no one should convert to Buddhism, but they feel that some of their practices could be adapted to many other religious groups and also to secular groups such as the standard school classroom and therefore respectfully share their ideas. Here in the US we are so hurried all the time and never disconnect. It would do us all a great deal of good to stop and follow our breath more often. It would also do us some good to look at things from more than one perspective and gain understanding of our fellow humans on this earth.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    I think it speaks to the state of my mindfulness practice that I skimmed the rest of this book before returning it to the library. I don't think that skimming a mindfulness book is really what it's all about, but it was a good read. I incorporate a lot of mindfulness into my therapy practice with anxious, depressed, and inattentive kids. I'm also doing it myself and am really appreciating any attempts that I make in that direction. It's the gift that immediately gives and keeps on giving. I'm al I think it speaks to the state of my mindfulness practice that I skimmed the rest of this book before returning it to the library. I don't think that skimming a mindfulness book is really what it's all about, but it was a good read. I incorporate a lot of mindfulness into my therapy practice with anxious, depressed, and inattentive kids. I'm also doing it myself and am really appreciating any attempts that I make in that direction. It's the gift that immediately gives and keeps on giving. I'm also enjoying how much Molly naturally embodies the practice of mindfulness. We go on walks and she tells me everything she is seeing and smelling. She can hear a plane before I can and notices tiny bugs on the sidewalk without trying. She has taught me mindfulness more than anything before. I love this book and think some of the group activities would be great for CAPS or a classroom!!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sps

    Most of the practices and ideas in here were familiar to me from Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices, but they are all tailored for adults who want to bring mindfulness practice into children's lives. Some of it feels like dopey New Age blather, e.g. most of the songs on the included CD. But the practices are real, and the questions and answers with Buddhist teachers are illuminating. I bet a child raised with lots of mindfulness practice would have a wonderful, unshakeable source of stre Most of the practices and ideas in here were familiar to me from Happiness: Essential Mindfulness Practices, but they are all tailored for adults who want to bring mindfulness practice into children's lives. Some of it feels like dopey New Age blather, e.g. most of the songs on the included CD. But the practices are real, and the questions and answers with Buddhist teachers are illuminating. I bet a child raised with lots of mindfulness practice would have a wonderful, unshakeable source of strength and peace.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    First sentence: Mindfulness helps us recognize what is going on in the present moment. Favorite quote: You cannot transmit wisdom and insight to another person. The seed is already there. A good teacher touches the seed, allowing it to wake up, to sprout, and to grow. I did not read every word, or every page of this book. I certainly would have when I was a young parent. There is a calmness that came over me while reading this book and I learned a great deal about practicing mindfulness. I will no First sentence: Mindfulness helps us recognize what is going on in the present moment. Favorite quote: You cannot transmit wisdom and insight to another person. The seed is already there. A good teacher touches the seed, allowing it to wake up, to sprout, and to grow. I did not read every word, or every page of this book. I certainly would have when I was a young parent. There is a calmness that came over me while reading this book and I learned a great deal about practicing mindfulness. I will now look for one by Thích Nhất Hạnh written for adults.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Marcy

    This is a unique and wonderful book that anyone involved with children--whether as parents or teachers--should read. It's both practical and imaginative. There are wonderful activities that range from artistic to thoughtful to meditative. The activities centering around food are quite terrific in the way they help to inculcate an awareness about food, health, and agriculture. There are great ideas for helping teach kids to concentrate, to be considerate, all sorts of important lessons that they This is a unique and wonderful book that anyone involved with children--whether as parents or teachers--should read. It's both practical and imaginative. There are wonderful activities that range from artistic to thoughtful to meditative. The activities centering around food are quite terrific in the way they help to inculcate an awareness about food, health, and agriculture. There are great ideas for helping teach kids to concentrate, to be considerate, all sorts of important lessons that they can learn by doing rather than through a lecture.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Elyse

    I really liked the tools shared in this book for helping children visualize mindfulness. All the tips I've tried have been successful - my children (ages 2 and 4) seemed to get a kick out of mindfulness activities, and my 4 year old has definitely caught on to the idea of mindfulness thanks to this book. That said, I think I'd recommend this more as a reference to have on hand when wanting mindfulness activities for kids vs as a good read. Other than the children's mindfulness activities, I thou I really liked the tools shared in this book for helping children visualize mindfulness. All the tips I've tried have been successful - my children (ages 2 and 4) seemed to get a kick out of mindfulness activities, and my 4 year old has definitely caught on to the idea of mindfulness thanks to this book. That said, I think I'd recommend this more as a reference to have on hand when wanting mindfulness activities for kids vs as a good read. Other than the children's mindfulness activities, I thought it was repetitive and hard to get through.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dixie

    This book should be in every teacher and school administrators bookcase. There are so many pressures on teachers due to testing requirements that the psychological health of our children is often disregarded. The thing we are forgetting is that psychological well being is directly linked to performance and you cannot have one without the other. This book offers really simple solutions for incorporating both into our children's lives. This book should be in every teacher and school administrators bookcase. There are so many pressures on teachers due to testing requirements that the psychological health of our children is often disregarded. The thing we are forgetting is that psychological well being is directly linked to performance and you cannot have one without the other. This book offers really simple solutions for incorporating both into our children's lives.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tory

    I was really excited to find this book, but was disappointed. I heartily agree that children are capable of practicing mindfulness and the benefits to such a practice are huge. I gave this book a low rating because it is poorly organized. It lacked a much needed "how to use this book" chapter, as well as an explanation of to use the CD that was included. I was really excited to find this book, but was disappointed. I heartily agree that children are capable of practicing mindfulness and the benefits to such a practice are huge. I gave this book a low rating because it is poorly organized. It lacked a much needed "how to use this book" chapter, as well as an explanation of to use the CD that was included.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    What an awesome collection of anecdotes, ideas, meditations, and activities to introduce children to the practice of mindfulness!!! We have integrated the food contemplations to our dinners every night, made a mindfulness corner for the girls, among other things. It really helped Buddhism become a family practice. Loved it. Will come back to it again and again.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This was a really great book about helping children live mindfully. I have already started implementing some of the ideas with my kids, such as breathing when they hear the bell, and while a few of the activities were a tad hokey for me, I think this is a great resource for helping parents raise thoughtful, compassionate kids.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alison Steiner

    I'd have loved to see the content organised in a more logical, user-friendly way. Bits of it tended to be 'waffley' and repetitive. Some good, simple activities however I would have preferred for this book to have been co-written with a classroom educator as not all of the concepts, as presented here, translate well into a contempory, secular classroom. I'd have loved to see the content organised in a more logical, user-friendly way. Bits of it tended to be 'waffley' and repetitive. Some good, simple activities however I would have preferred for this book to have been co-written with a classroom educator as not all of the concepts, as presented here, translate well into a contempory, secular classroom.

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