MAKING SPACE IN YOUR *KIDS* LIFE FOR MINDFULNESS
We want to raise calm, focused and happy children but how do we do that?
Our children are quite capable of living in the present moment.
They get immersed in games, drawings, sports and books. They are curious about exploring their world and are able to be compassionate in surprising ways.
Over time responsibilities of life- schedules, homework, chores, friendships everything will cause them to feel stressed, worried and fearful. This sets the stage of how they are as adults.
It not our job to protect our kids from these realities, micro-mange their life or fix all their problems. We can, however, give them skills to manage life and feelings more mindfully and effectively.
We have to create and protect as many opportunities as we can for our children to get and stay present.
We do this by setting aside the time and space for our kids to be mindful.
There are three main ways to create the time and space our kids need to be mindful:
- Slowing down in their daily life so they can have mindful moments.
- Setting aside time for them to do what they want and
- Creating spaces in our home that are relaxing and calming for them.
Mindfulness is most effective when we weave it into small pauses in their daily lives. You can take a brief pause to breathe together, admire a sunset or flower.
But this means we have to be mindful of balancing moments of rushing and correcting and when we just let our children be (even if only for a moment.)
Since it’s hard to remember to take a mindful moment, it helps to build structure and reminders into your day to help yourself and your kids tune into the moment.
Anything you do on a daily basis can trigger a brief moment of awareness from stepping out the door to sitting down at meal time or bath time. The best part, you can do it alongside your child.
SET ASIDE FREE TIME EVERYDAY
It’s hard to overstate how much our kids need time to feel like they have age appropriate power to make decisions on what they want to do.
I saw this need for autonomy in my 15-month-old. Whenever I’d micro-manage and hover by constantly saying “no don’t’ touch this. Don’t’ do that,” he felt stifled and would act out. Half the time I needed to say no the other half I was saying no cause I felt inconvenienced by what he was doing. There was really no imminent harm to his health, safety or mental or physical well-being.
I realized when I backed off and only said “NO” when it was absolutely necessary, I was more confident and calm and he seemed to listen more.
Children need time to get creative, get to know themselves and their own thoughts and tackle problems on their own.
They can draw, listen to music, just be curious and explore their surrounds or write in a journey. This time shouldn’t be electronics time.
Children naturally benefit even if they have at least 10 minutes of this free time daily.
A calm down corner is a safe space where children can go to relax and calm down. It can be a corner of a room, tent or any special, quiet place for your child.
If your children are 4 and older, ask what they want to put in the corner. Anything in this corner should be age appropriate for them to be left unsupervised with. And lastly, don’t clutter it with too much stuff.
This is not a time-out spot. Your child shouldn’t be forced to go here. It can be a place in lieu of time-outs if you want but it should be a space they go to willingly.
Here are some ideas to keep in mind when you create a calm-down corner.
- No screens or tablets or electronic toys.
- Smooth stones with calming words (older children)
- Pillow, blanket or stuffed animal.
- Stress balls
- Pinwheels and Doberman globe for breathing
- Mindfulness bells and singing bowls
- Mindfulness books
- Yoga Reminder Cards- Yoga Pretzels are my fav
- Battery powered votive candles
- Peace Makers Cards to help them cope with emotions Learn more about them here.
So now I’d love to hear from you.
I know applying all 3 may seem daunting at first, pick one mindfulness moments you want to focus on incorporating in your kid’s life right now and share it in the comments below.
I”m so honored to be able to guide you on this journey and if you made it to the end of this blog, you should know that your example is going to empower your children in more ways than you know.
Thank you, as always, for bringing your open and generous heart to this community. You continue to inspire me each and every week.
With so much love,
P.S.- Know any mamas who would totally dig this? I’d love if you forward this blog to her! (She’ll love you for it!)
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