You will find here some simple tools and practices that you can use with yourself and your little ones. These practices will support you in becoming less reactive and more creative as a parent and will therefore, contribute to your own feelings of well-being.
Mindfulness is more than meditation. It is about being present and aware in every moment. Our society today tends to reward multitasking, being busy, always on-the-go and constantly striving for what the future holds for us. Living this way has gotten us in so much trouble. People are exhausted, overwhelmed, unclear, unfocused and happiness is always something to get to rather than to cherish in the moment. The mindfulness tools below are to be practised as much as possible on a daily basis. They are first for us as parents and secondly for our kids. After all they learn what we are not what we say.
This practice teaches us and our kids what to do when getting angry, anxious or worried. It really can be used with any emotion and will improve the awareness we have of ourselves.
S. Stop what you are doing.
T. Take a breath.
O. Observe your body. What bodily sensation do you have? Scan from your toes to your head. Pay attention to your heart.
P. Proceed and choose your actions carefully from this new place of awareness.
Back to Back Breath
This is something that you can do with your child. The practice is simple and involves sitting on the floor back to back and breathing easily. Both begin to pay attention to your breath and over time aim to sync the breath. This practice creates awareness of yourself and of the other person involved.
Child pose is known to be a very comforting yoga asana and a very easy and accessible pose for everyone. When your child is over excited you can ask them to take child pose and proceed with massaging their sacrum area. The massage will help their nervous system to rebalance.
Inspired by their son Julie Bayer Salzman and Josh Salzman created this very touching video called “Just Breathe”
The video reminds us to reconnect to the breath especially when we are overcome with emotions. Watch it with your kids.
The Treasure and The Dragon
Being mindful includes understanding that every emotion and experience we have is temporary. When our kids are having a tantrum or are misbehaving it can be challenging to remember that it won’t last. The concept of the Dragon and the Treasure is one that has changed how I parent. This concepts basically speaks to simply witnessing our kids when they are at their best (the treasure) or at their worst (the dragon). Our mindful role in those moments is to simply watch, witness their experience as well as ours and not to intervene during that witnessing. That way we are present to our children, unaffected by their experience and showing them we love them no matter what.
The Mind Jar
The mind jar is a wonderful tool to help kids get calm during chaotic times. Its also called a calm down jar. There is lots of information online on how to make them. It can also be a fun craft activity to do with the kids.