We've discussed the basics of Check-Ins, but let’s explore them more in depth. I believe they are one of the easiest and most insightful activities and a foundational part of a mindful practice. Read on for my favorite variations on an essential mindful activity!
What is a Check-In?
A Check-In is where you take a purposeful moment to pause and reflect on how you are feeling in that very moment. I often say to check in with your head, your heart, your body.
I ask every child to participate, and give them the option of explaining in more detail, but never require that. It is important to keep this a time of reflection and support, and make sure every child feels safe to be honest.
Variations on Check-Ins
Numbers: The most basic way of checking in is to ask kids to rate how they are feeling overall on a scale from 0-10. I often specify whole or half numbers only, because some like to get into fractions or decimal points :)
Colors: Another option is to ask kids what color they are feeling that day. It becomes an interesting conversation about how many blues there are, and what red means to one child is different to another. One of my favorite answers ever was: “Today I feel like glitter!” What a lucky kid!
Animals: What is your spirit animal today? Another fun way to explore conversations about animals and our perceptions of them!
Ongoing Throughout the Day: I love starting our day with a Check-In, as it also gives me an immediate read on where the kids are that day. But it can be interesting to do check-ins throughout the day and notice how emotions and feelings can ebb and flow naturally throughout a busy school day.
Around the Dinner Table: Every year, I would have parents ask me about what is this Check-In thing and why is there child leading them around the dinner table. I was always so proud that the kids were sharing this with their families!
Kids' Creation: Let the kids come up with their own "scale" based on their passions and interests. It's a way to involve them on a deeper level and give them some ownership of their practice.
What are other variations you've tried? Share your ideas!