How you start your day will determine the rest of you day.
Why not instilling a few good habits in our children? Starting their day on the right path will positively influence the mood and energy for the whole family! It helps them to feel calm, safe and grounded. Try these tips! And, remember, the most important is consistency and modelling mindfulness yourself too!
"1. Waking up with mindful breathing.
What does this look like for your family? Are your kids usually in bed with you or tucked into their own beds in their own rooms? Either way is absolutely wonderful, and you can create a mindful breathing practice in any bedroom you're waking up in. Mindful awareness of breath is a great building block for other healthy mindful practices and can help regulate emotions at any given point throughout our days.
Sit at the edge of the bed together and place one hand on your heart and one on your belly to start your day with six deep breaths. Notice how the belly and heart rise and fall as you inhale through the nose and exhale out through the mouth for the first three. For the next three, add the arms. As you inhale, sweep the arms up to the sky. As you exhale, bring the hands to heart center. This makes for a good morning stretch and mindful movement linked to your breath.
- Gratitude at breakfast time.
Breakfast can be a wonderful family bonding time if you create it intentionally. Today, it's easy to allow devices to take the place of interaction with each other. Kids watching an overstimulating program or playing a mindless game on an app is an effortless way for them to tune out of engaging face-to-face and be consumed by a screen. Technology has tremendous capabilities and many benefits, but that presents new challenges we have to be mindful about and lead by example. Try no devices or TV during the morning routine and take note of any positive changes.
At breakfast time, hold your hands over your heart and each take a turn saying something you're grateful for. Having gratitude is one of the best ways to create joy, shift from negative energy, and cultivate more happiness. If your child isn't quite speaking yet (ours is 20 months old), teach them the word gratitude and what it means. In a matter of a few days, our toddler began putting her hands on her heart as we sat to eat, often reminding us to say our grateful thought. They pick up routines quickly.
- Observation window fun.
This next one can be done anytime in your morning routine, but try to choose a moment to stack it with something everyone does, and keep it consistent. It could be once everybody is dressed, right after breakfast, maybe as the teeth are getting brushed, or on the way out the door. There are plenty of moments to choose from.
Find a window or head outside to find something to observe. Look for something that you can focus on for at least one minute, and describe it as vividly as possible. Encourage your kids to turn on their senses. Again, if your little one is not quite talking, you can prompt descriptive words and see how they engage. Clouds, trees, animals, the sky, the weather…nature is a great place to find things to look at. Stimulating their imagination, creativity, and ability to watch something closely brings them right into the present moment.
4. Get creative.
These are some simple ways to get mindfulness flowing in your home as you start your day. Building on these practices and adding more layers can be fun too: journaling, creating a gratitude jar, finding a quiet place to sit and meditate together, practicing yoga side by side, just to name a few. Exploring mindfulness is creative and enjoyable. Just remember to focus on the essence of being aware in the present moment."
Author: Andrea Bogart