Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sitting Still Like a Frog

I became aware that maybe our life was getting too hectic when my daughter had no less than four crying fits in one week.  For some, this may be normal kid behaviour, but not for my daughter.  She is usually pretty chilled out, unless immensely provoked.  I had spent the week running around all day and not really spending time and sitting with her.  She was angry at me, angry at herself for being angry and it culminated in tantrums.

Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises For Kids by Eline Snel is an introduction to mindfulness for kids (and adults).

This introduction to mindfulness meditation for children and their parents includes practices that can help children calm down, become more focused, fall asleep more easily, alleviate worry, manage anger, and generally become more patient and aware. The accompanying audio CD has guided meditations voiced by Myla Kabat-Zinn, co-author of Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting

We all need to learn to take a step out of our days and just sit and process what is going on with us.  One of my favorite quotes from the book is, "You cannot control the waves, but you can learn to surf on them." It is something I repeat to myself.  The CD is a great tool to use daily because as this book reminds us, mindfulness can take practice.  Each chapter gives both parents and children exercises that help us all to become a better family.   Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises For Kids does not only encourage parents to sit and talk with their children in a controlled environment, but also to allow each other that time to breathe. (something I have never been good at). It teaches us to be kinder and notice our feelings and those around us.

As a parent, I often find myself yelling.  I wish it was as easy as telling myself to stop, but like anyone, I get frustrated.  After teaching a class of 22 second-graders, I can come home cranky.  My response will often dictate my daughter's day. With Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises For Kids I have learned to process and do things differently.

For a fun, eye-opening activity called "Noticing Your Unkindness," you wear rubber bands on one wrist, and if you are unkind to yourself or others, you take notice of it (no one need point it out) and you move the band to the other wrist.  It gives you a visual about yourself.  For each kindness, you move the band back.  I did this and it made a huge difference.  My goal is to end the day with bands on the "kind" side.

Check this book out and take a minute to become a mindful parent and help you child to become a mindful child.  You will both love the results!

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