Hey friends, Laura here! I'm so excited to share with you this summer! I thought we could kick things off with a chat about what mindfulness actually is and how you can incorporate this concept into your family and summer activities. I mean, who doesn't want to feel true connection with your kids and enjoy a summer full of fun & soul.
As a parent, you know that summer can be exhausting and move by too quickly. Instead of thinking about this in terms of DOING MORE, let's look at mindfulness through the lens of being purposeful. So, what exactly is mindfulness?
Mindfulness, in my mind and heart, is taking in every moment and feeling without judgement.
Mindfulness looks like being here now when talking to one another, staying present during the simple tasks like washing the dishes, driving or eating food. It's about noticing the little signals and feelings of your body and mind throughout the day. It allows us to have Mind Full of Love.
Kids are actually pretty great at being in the moment, but learning how to articulate their feelings and discovering coping mechanisms takes time. As parents, guardians, and teachers we can guide our children to practice being mindful of those emotions and how to balance and cope with them. When you open discussion with your kid(s) try to use vocabulary that allows your child to connect with you on their level, not yours! Don't open a conversation with a specific goal or agenda, simply follow their lead.
A great starting point is talking about feelings and emotions.
- "What is sad, happy, shy, frustrated, or mad?"
- "What does it feel like when you have each emotion?"
- "How does your body respond to these feelings?" (heart racing, red face, tummy tension)
It's important to let your children know that their emotions are valid and acceptable. Remind them that feelings will constantly change moment to moment, but identifying each feeling is helpful. During a family discussion time, try sharing an example of a moment you felt sad or mad. Express how you were able to cope with that challenging moment in your life, through breath, seeking support or journaling. In my years working with children, I have noticed they love having something to relate to and someone to relate with; so don't be afraid to be vulnerable with them!
Mindfulness in Action:
To practice mindfulness as a family, take one of your simple daily tasks and discover the present moment: feel the body here & now, notice your breath, listen to the sounds around you, recognize the feeling in your feet, hands, and entire body. Throughout the exercise remember to breathe in a Mind Full of Love. Try to complete the exercise once a day together or separately for a week then at dinner each night discuss your experiences.
The book, Unstoppable Me, by Wayne W. Dyer is a great map piece to explore mindfulness and feelings! The 10 important lessons in this book include the value of taking risks, dealing with stress and anxiety, and learning to enjoy each moment. Each point includes an example showing how a child might apply the concept in his or her everyday life. There are questions at the end of the book to help spark discussion and to further reinforce the author’s message.
Leave us a comment below & let us know how this works in your fam!