BACK TO SCHOOL TIPS USING MINDFULNESS
As many of our kids begin the school year in a non traditional and new way, it’s important to provide tools to help them be successful and less anxious. We also have a unique opportunity to introduce our kids to new concepts that can enrich them. Mindfulness is a great practice that can be helpful to families especially during times of change. It teaches us to be more accepting of the present moment and more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Here are 5 tips to help moms and kids live a more mindful life in the midst of COVID and distant learning.
- Start each morning with Affirmations.
- Spend time outdoors and make time for play.
- Take a mindful minute to reset or during times of stress.
- Mindful eating.
- Set up a bedtime routine that includes a short meditation before sleep.
Tip #1: MORNING AFFIRMATIONS
Creating a positive mindset can help children and adults become more confident in their ability to self regulate emotions and set intentions. Teaching kids to start each morning with affirmations allows them to work toward simple goals by repeating out loud statements such as “I am kind”, “I am Smart”, I am a good listener”.
In the past, my kids and I would repeat our affirmations together during the morning drive to school. Now that we are staying home, and my kids are older, they have changed their practice by repeating an affirmation before brushing their teeth. I love that they can see their reflection in the mirror as they set an intention and goal using an affirmation they have chosen for themselves. Yes, it’s basically talking to yourself! Teaching our children that what they tell themselves is critical. If they are starting off believing “ I can’t do this” or “I’m not good enough or worthy enough”, this is what will begin to dictate their self talk. I personally love the affirmation cards such as Mindful Moments. Helping kids start each day with a positive outlook can build resilience and confidence needed to have a peaceful day and happy life.
Tip #2: SPEND TIME OUTDOORS & MAKE TIME FOR PLAY
Take a moment in your day to be outdoors and allow your kids time to play. When engaged in play, our sensory awareness is elevated, we become immersed in the present moment and feel energized. Play is a fun and rewarding way for kids to be both mentally and physically satisfied. Try and engage your kids in simple mindful games that bring their attention to their environment by asking them to pay attention to sounds around them, or searching for objects or colors. This may remind you of the games we played as kids on long car drives. Going back to these basics can still be very beneficial to kids in today’s world.
Tip # 3: TAKE A MINDFUL MINUTE TO RESET DURING TIMES OF STRESS
As we navigate our new schedules, there can be moments we all feel stressed. Playing the role of mom, teacher, playmate, and career women can become intense. Press the pause button together with your kids during stressful moments and check in with how each of you are feeling. The first step in emotional regulation skills is learning to identify what it is you are feeling. Understanding this puts us in the driver seat and allows us the ability to control thoughts & reactions. This mindful practice helps moms and kids move from a reactionary behavior to a responsive nature where we consciously choose our responses to situations. Consider introducing your kids to mindful toys such as OMI the Elephant. OMI is an interactive stuffed animal created by my kids. He introduces kids to emotional regulation skills and positive thinking by asking them “how are you feeling?” and “think of something nice”.
Tip # 4: MINDFUL EATING
As a busy mom, I began to notice that allowing my kids to watch television or an electronic was an easy way to keep them distracted while they ate. I understand why we do this at moms but it’s this distraction that can later develop a habit of mindless eating. Teaching kids the art of mindful eating allows kids to develop healthy eating habits by simply being more present during meal time. With this valuable skill, kids are more aware of their hunger and fullness cues. Now is also a great opportunity to sneak in some family time where you can engage in discussions about your day, school work and feelings. My husband and I engaged in a challenge where we had to put our phones away during family meal time. It’s an experiment worth trying even if it’s for just 10 minutes. We found that being fully present for even short periods can be huge to family bonding time.
Tip #5: BEDTIME ROUTINES & MEDITATION
Quality sleep is something we all need for our overall well-being. Creating a bedtime routine can help kids develop a healthy sleep habit. Incorporating mindful meditation can be helpful in the process. My kids loved listening to friendly sleep meditations before bed. Awareness of the breath helps calm the nervous system and can help kids fall asleep. Allowing kids to feel safe and relaxed sets them up for a good night of rest. Most importantly a well rested child can also mean a well rested mom. Creating a mindful bedtime routine helped our entire family get the rest we deserved and needed. My kiddos still love having Omi the Mindful Elephant to cuddle and practice their mindful breathing with before bed. With preset recordings, Omi’s soothing voice and calming music helps them relax before sleeping. I also love the meditation for kids book which can provide age appropriate exercises kids can practice to feel calm and relaxed.
LET’S BREATHE TOGETHER:
Parents and kids can engage in mindful practices in many bite-sized ways throughout their day. It doesn’t have to be difficult or burdenful. I hope these simple tips can help as you navigate your new schedule. Most importantly, remember being here and now is all we can do in this moment. Allow yourself to find peace throughout your day and stop when needed to just breathe and reset. Remember to send yourself love and also kindness to those around you. These simple practices will be essential as we all work to find our way in an evolving world.
Mom, Mindful Educator,
Founder- Mindful BuddieZ
“Let’s Breathe Together”