by Courtney Loughney, E-RYT, M.Ed, Birth Center Mama
Wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, arrive at home, snack, change, rush to activity, homework, dinner, bedtime, repeat. In these fast paced, over achieving, high demanding lives our children are living, they are lacking essential coping mechanisms to help them navigate through life.
My 6-year-old has been having a hard time falling asleep at night. She said that her mind keeps thinking and that her body feels weird. I encouraged her to tell me more about how her body felt, but she had a hard time putting it into words. We decided that a guided visualization specifically for children and sleep would be a good place to start. She walked out 20 minutes later when it ended, stating that her body felt much more relaxed but it hadn’t put her to sleep. 10 minutes later she was fast asleep. I didn’t try to fix her body or mind, rather offered a tool to help her find stillness and relaxation.
As parents when we see our children uncomfortable we automatically want to fix it. We hate to see them suffer or in pain. However, when we fix their problems for them, instead of encouraging them to find stillness and tap into their own inner voice, we are actually doing them a disservice.
Here’s how we can support our children:
1. Practice calming techniques when you are already calm.
We often overlook this important step. When we practice relaxation and stillness, when we become anxious or uncomfortable it is easier to tap into these techniques because we already practice them.
2. Ask where they feel it in their body?
Bringing awareness to the mind-body connection builds the foundation for self-awareness.
3. Don’t try to fix it.
Instead practice active listening by helping them level their feelings as they describe the situation to you. “You are made because______.” “I am hearing you’re sad because_______.” Telling them they are okay or offering suggestions can shut down communication.
4. Discharge Negative Energy.
Encourage your child to journal or draw a picture of how they felt. Even if the child is no longer experiencing the uncomfortable feelings it is important to reflect and discharge the energy in a healthy way.
Model how you use stillness during difficult situations by talking about them openly.
Courtney Loughney is the mother of 3 children and is the owner of Le Petit Yogi, a children’s yoga company. She has been practicing yoga for over a decade and is dedicated to bringing the life changing practice to mothers and children of all ages. To learn more visit www.LePetitYogi.com.