Often as parents we find ourselves stressed with the intentness of our to-do lists and the craziness of our little minions. Even though we try to prevent it by taking a silent bath at midnight or eating a chocolate bar in the closet, it gets to all of us. I take a moment, or a couple of hours, every morning to center myself and put my mind in the right place for the day.
What about the littles though? If we need to center ourselves daily, don’t you think that they do too? Well, honestly, it had never occurred to me that my children crazy because they did not have a chance to get their mind in the right place before starting something, like say, school work.
The revelation sort of just dawned on me about a week or so ago when my son, having one of his super hyper-active moments during our learning time, screamed “I can’t be calm! My mind isn’t letting me!”. Since “officially” starting his schooling, my son has not wanted to focus, and I mean… AT ALL… Even during art, or games! He will start to jump up and down, make loud and distracting noises, and talk over me when I am trying to explain something. It has been extremely frustrating and I fear he isn’t getting anything that I am teaching.
Last week, after the ‘ding ding ding’ moment, I started thinking about the different things that I do for myself on the daily norm that calm my crazy. Meditation, moments of silence, alone time, music and reading all really help me along with things like planning, journaling, knitting… But for a kindergartner with the attention span of a squirrel, I wanted to keep it to the simplest ones.
I sat down and re-considered our homeschooling plan. (How convenient that I didn’t plan out the full year and I just stuck to the twelve weeks like I said here and here, uh?!) What did I want and what did they want and need? Here is what I came up with.
- A calm, stress free and fun learning environment.
- More time with stories.
- Meditation sessions and quiet time throughout the day.
- Playful and fun hands-on learning.
- More learning games and less time crunching in the curriculum.
- Breaks for play, meaning a longer school day but an easier one.. in theory.
I think that this is starring to look more like what works for our family and less of a mimic of what has worked for another’s family. This is so important because every family, child and day is different.
The next day my kids were thinking that I had gone a little coo coo because when they woke up I was sitting with my tea and had two extra cups waiting for them, along with some warm oatmeal and and apple. After breakfast they tried to start on their chores, but I told them to go lay on the living room floor. Perplexed was the look on their little faces, but they listened. I put on a children’s guided meditation/ story mash up that I found on You Tube and sat down in amazement as my children laid there quietly, listening and following along.
“Monkey mind” was still present that day, but in no way was it as cray cray as it had been. I have since been doing it every day and each day is different, but it has been so much better and I think that by continuing this fun little routine and changing up how we are approaching homeschooling will benefit my littles and definitely help my son calm his brain.
How meditation can benefit children:
- Calming “monkey mind”
- Helping with focus
- Teaching them to handle their emotions better
- Better success now and later on in their life
- Showing valuable techniques in dealing with stressful situations
- Making family life more fun and relaxing
- Better sleep at night
- Better attitudes during the day
- Teaching mindfulness
What really helped me to start my children with a meditation routine
- Making sure that I am up and mentally prepared before they are awake
- Using videos instead of leading them myself, this helped them view it more like a fun game and not a “required” thing that mom was making them do.
- Finding videos that worked well with my children and lifestyle
- Making it fun and something that they WANT to do, not just something that I want them to do
- Using guided meditations with a story, to keep them interested
- Staying calm and patient myself
- Making it something that is always done in the morning, but also teaching them to breath and meditate throughout the day.
- Remembering that this is a learning curve for all of us, and to stay patient and consistent
- Having them eat a warm meal and drink some warm tea before helped them to relax a little bit more
- Also doing it at night-time before bed
We are still in the beginning stages of this, but it has been such a HUGE HUGE HUGE help to them, and me! I absolutely had to share this with you!
Here are some books/audios that will help.
- Meditate like a superhero
- The lemonade hurricane: a story of mindfulness and meditation
- Bedtime meditations for kids
Here are some of the videos that I have came across that my children enjoy.
Does your child have “monkey mind”, and issues with “calming their brain”? Have you tried meditation? What have you tried and what has worked/not worked?
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