Mindfulness Monday: 12 Ways to Help Kids (Or ANYONE!) Calm Down
Having an idea of what you can do as a parent, caregiver, or adult to help children who are overstimulated calm down in the moment is so important. Here are 12 ways to help a child (or ANYONE) get into a calmer mental space:
Using Sensory Input:
Carry something heavy to engage larger muscle groups
Hanging upside down from a jungle gym, or even the couch
Get a really tight, long bear hug from a family member at home
Practice Crossing the Midline:
Cross Crawls: Touch one hand to the opposite knee, then practice with the other side.
Do 20 jumping jacks, then touch opposite hand to toes 20 times, and repeat
Draw wide figure-8's in the air in front of you, crossing your entire body. Do this with one hand, then the other.
Practice Grounding Activities:
Focus on what you hear, see, smell, and feel to bring your attention back to your body.
Wash your hands for 2-3 minutes and focus on how the water feels as it runs over your hands.
Ball your hands into fists, then relax. Tense your entire body, then relax. Continue to do this.
Practice Mindfulness Activities:
Square breathing: breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and continue.
Hold a pillow or stuffed animal, close your eyes, and describe what the texture of the item feels like.
Jump up and down for one minute. Then stop, close your eyes, put your hands on your chest, and count your heart beats.
Tune In Tuesday: Conquering Shyness
Shyness is when someone is nervous, or timid, when around other people. Watch the video reading the story “Too Shy for Show and Tell.” Then, check in with your family to discuss what you notice!
Why didn’t many people know Sam very well? How did Sam feel about Show and Tell in the beginning of the story? Talk about a person that you know that may be shy? Why do you think they are shy? How did Sam start to feel better about Show and Tell?
Why Should I? Wednesday: Integrity
Do We Still Do The Right Thing When No One Is Watching?
We are all naturally good people. We say please and thank you, we support our friends at birthday parties, sporting events, graduations. We hold the door for the person behind us walking out of the mall. Well before the mall closed down. We try to always do the right thing. Today’s dilemma is do we make the right choices when no one is watching? Do our actions change when we believe we are alone? Ben is faced with a situation that really test his ethics. Let’s take a look at what Ben is challenged with.
Put yourself in Ben’s situation, what would you do?
Would your choice be different if there was no receipt?
Would your choice be different if people were walking by?
Would your choice be different if you knew the money belonged to the bank and not an individual?
Do you think you would make a different choice if your friends were with you? If so what would that choice be?
Have you ever done something because you knew no one was watching? How did you feel when you did it? Would you do it again? Why? Why not?
You can also have some great conversation as a family about what guides your decision making and ethics. You can ask questions like: what kind of world would we live in if everyone made the same choice I did? Have everyone come up with a time in their life when they made a choice positive or negative. Based on that share what kind of world you would be living in based on that choice if everyone made the same choice. Would you want to live in a world like that? What would the world look like if everyone made that same choice? This brings up great conversation about accountability and ownership.
Thoughtful Thursday: Being Thoughtful at Home
With a quarantine in progress across many parts of the world, now is a perfect opportunity to encourage kids to be of service at home (they might disagree, but stay with me here).
We often think of service as action we take for others outside of our immediate families, but simple tasks, like feeding the dog, sweeping up and clearing the dishes – what many of us refer to as chores – are also about serving others. Rather than community members or people in need halfway across the world, kids can help by contributing to daily life in their very own homes.
One simple, fun way to engage children is by including them in the planning and prep of family dinner. Read more about how you can make it mindful and fun here!
Family Fun Friday: Face Your Feelings
This is a game to help recognize people can feel differently about the same event.
You will need four paper plates, or sheets of paper for each player. You will also need crayons, markers, or pencils.
Now have each player draw these feeling faces on their paper/paper plates: Happy, sad, angry, and worried.
One person will read out loud different situations to the players. The players have to think about how they would feel if this situation happened to them.
Read each of the below situations one at a time, at the end of each situation the players will hold up the “feeling face” that they believe they would experience if that situation happened to them. Before moving on to the next situation talk about what each person’s individual feelings are. Have them explain why they feel that way. Notice that people can feel differently about the same situation and that’s okay.
It’s snowing outside.
Your cousins are coming over tonight.
Your parents will take you shopping tonight.
You didn’t get picked to play on the basketball team.
You might move to a different state.
You got moved to a different math group in school.
Your guardian just got a new job.
Your friend is moving.
You’ve been sick for a week now.
You got a new puppy.
You can also make up different situations that apply more to your family!
Did everyone respond to a given situation with the same feelings? If not, why do you think this happened?
Do you think that there is any situation in which all people would feel exactly the same?
Why do you think two people can feel differently about the same situation?