I know this has been a difficult time for parents and kids. The COVID-19 pandemic, all the restrictions, and all the unknowns have provided a strange and grim reality. We are simultaneously engaged in a global call for racial justice with the Black Lives Matter Movement, which spotlights the deep pain and inequality caused by racism, past and present.
How do we make the internal and external changes called for and engage our kids? How can we balance our wellbeing with action? How can we better take care of children's emotional and physical wellness?
At the heart of all these questions, I can draw a line to the practice of mindfulness and conscientious compassion. Mindfulness helps us understand better our perceptions and our mind. It clarifies our blind spots and helps us bring more consciousness to our actions and words. This leads to conscientious compassion, which is the action taken out of the care for others' wellbeing. It's what guides us to do the right thing. These are abilities we all need to strengthen for ourselves, our children, and for our greater community.
NOW Children has several free mindfulness offerings this summer to support you and your children to do just that.
Start with this Free YouTube Series of Mindfulness Activities and Practices you can do with your elementary-aged children. Educators can also benefit. Share this with families eager for more support and materials.
Every Monday and Thursday, a new video will be posted. These are simple and accessible mindfulness practices created from the heart and designed to support you and your children during these challenging times. Play, meditate, and sing-along with your child to these short videos for free. Support your family's wellness and foster moments of meaningful conversation and connection together.
Don’t miss our Facebook community group of parents and educators who share the same passion for bringing mindfulness to kids.
A Mindful Response to a global health pandemic and a call for social justice is looking honestly at our capacity, our blind spots, and the ways we are still fostering inequity in our communities. These Zoom calls will focus on practices for your wellbeing to prevent burnout, engage your own learning on race, racism, and privilege, and have a courageous conversation with your kids. Keep coming, and you'll have the opportunity to cultivate connections with other parents and educators. All you need to join is a good internet connection, a microphone, and a camera on your laptop, desktop, or smart phone device.
For mobile devices, download the Zoom App in the APP STORE.
There is a lot to be said about the benefits of mindfulness for children and adults. What seems most important regarding this offering is that both parent and child get a few minutes to be together in a way that is low key, relaxing, opens communication, mutual care for each other.
Find a time in your day that is naturally a time for your child to learn something new. Typically, this is in the morning time
Find a place in your home where your child will not be heavily distracted by toys or noise. Sit next your child or, if they are young, have them sit your lap.
Don’t worry if your child has a hard time sitting through the whole video. Sometimes kids need to watch and listen before trying something new like this. It can be helpful if you model by watching and participating in each video first and then replay and ask your child to try.
When you are upset, try using mindful breaths, Growing Roots, or Body scan to help yourself. You can say out loud or make it obvious that you are using your mindfulness at those moments.
When your child is upset and struggling to calm themselves down, you can ask them to breath with you.
Take long full breaths and have them follow your breathing pattern. It can also help to name what emotion you think they are having. “I can tell you are really angry right now” or “That looked like it really hurt.” Once they are more calm, you can begin to ask question about how they are feeling, what’s wrong, or what do they need.
Try not to use mindfulness as part of a punishment, “Go to your room and do your mindfulness!”
If you have a child who get’s upset easily or tantrums a lot, it can be helpful to discuss with them, when they are not upset, how to use mindfulness when they are “losing it”.