Our children will find themselves in many situations where they are made to feel angry, hurt or hard done by and teaching them how to process these feelings in a productive way is key to them growing up as calmer adults.
Teaching children to calm down and self-regulate are important life skills. We all know an adult that has anger management issues and the damage it does to their lives and the lives of those around them. We don’t want this for our kids!
Here’s some tips to help create calm…
1. As always, model the behaviour you want to see in your children. If you are quick to lose it, use strategies to calm down (see below).
2. Learn to say sorry. We all behave inappropriately and lose our temper from time to time, especially when we are sleep deprived. It’s important to be able to apologise to our children when we have behaved poorly - to calm down and explain to our children what we should have done and will try to do next time. This is how children will learn to do the same.
3. Assess the situation. Trying to teach our children about ‘being calm’ in the middle of an all out melt down is likely to be met with extra fuel on the fire. Instead be there for them, offer a cuddle and when they are ready, offer advice on ways to calm down.
4. Learn ways to calm down - count to ten, listen to music, walk away, find a calm spot, take deep breaths, find what works for you and encourage your kids to find out what works for them.
We know that being mindful is good for us however it can be hard to implement. Being mindful allows us to choose skillful responses instead of giving in to our instinctive reactions.
I love the below information and tips from Left Brain Buddah on teaching our kids mindfulness.
There is an emerging body of research that indicates mindfulness can help children improve their abilities to pay attention, to calm down when they are upset and to make better decisions.
So where do we start? How can we teach these important skills to our children?
Listen to the bell. An easy way for children to practice mindfulness is to focus on paying attention to what they can hear. You can use a bell, a set of chimes or a phone app that has sounds on it. Tell your children that you will make the sound, and they should listen carefully until they can no longer hear the sound (which is usually 30 seconds to a minute).
Practice with a breathing buddy. For young children, an instruction to simply “pay attention to the breath” can be hard to follow. Try this exercise with your little one… Grab a teddy, lie down on their back with their teddy on their belly. Then they can focus their attention on the rise and fall of the teddy on their belly as they breathe in and out.
Establish a gratitude practice. Gratitude is a fundamental component of mindfulness, teaching our children to appreciate the abundance in their lives, as opposed to focusing on all the toys and goodies that they crave. Dinner time is a great time to practice gratitude with each family member sharing one thing they are thankful for.
Make a Mind Jar. A mind jar is a bit like a snow globe - shake it up and watch the storm! But soon, if we sit and breathe and simply watch the disturbance, it settles. As do our minds.
Above all, remember to have fun and keep it simple. You can provide your children with many opportunities to add helpful practices to their toolkit — some of them will work for them and some won’t. But it’s fun to experiment!
Take part in the Little Rockers Radio #IAmProject and complete the Mindful Chart for this week. Complete all the tasks and download the special I AM MINDFUL certificate from www.littlerockersradio.com.au/hippo-blue-uniquely-you/