Stop what you or the kids are doing and just take a few moments to breathe deeply and slowly
We live in a ‘hurry-up’ world, always scrambling from one thing to the next. And, our kids are no different.
We chase them out the front door in the mornings, only to race them to extra murals after school. Once we get home, it’s homework, enrichment activities, chores, supper time and bath time. Our children fall into bed at night, exhausted, only to repeat the cycle again in the morning.
No wonder they’re frustrated, stressed and overwhelmed…
Which we try to fix of course, because we’re ‘fixers’ by nature.
But, words can only go so far.
Our children need more than “Your best is good enough”, “It’ll be OK…” and “Just keep trying!”. They need tools to be able to deal with whatever they’re going through – regardless of how ‘sticky’ or uncomfortable they feel. They need to learn how to slow down their reactions, fully feel their emotions and ultimately be present in the moment, even if they’re struggling.
They need to master mindfulness – and we, as parents can help them to do so!
Carol Surya (psychologist, author and co-founder of WISE) offers four tips for moms to help their children master mindfulness:
1. ‘Recharge’ together
Before starting homework or eating supper, lie down on your backs with your feet up on a chair and close your eyes ‘recharging’ for a few minutes. You could play calming music or chat about the best part of your day. To come out of it, bring your knees towards your chest, roll over and wait a few seconds before slowly sitting up.
2. Take a breather
Stop what you or the kids are doing and just take a few moments to breathe deeply and slowly. Conscious breathing is an immediate way to trigger the parasympathetic part of our nervous system – which brings about a feeling of calm.
Get your kids and yourself used to a daily practise of ‘time-in’, where you tune into your inner world. You can do this by gently focussing your attention on your breath (following the cool air in and the warmer air out through your nostrils).
Another great way is to simply put one hand on your heart and one on your belly, close your eyes and become aware of your heartbeat.
4. Imagine a safe, natural place
Encourage your children to create a beautiful safe place in their imagination. Once picturing all the colours, sights, sounds and smells in this place, they can imagine being in this place themselves and using this visualisation to feel calm and peaceful. It’s great to get them to invite a ‘magical’ helper or friend to this place, who can inspire and motivate them with any challenges.
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