The start of the school is normally filled with first day jitters and checking supply lists to make sure your child has everything needed. This fall, many children across the country will be starting the academic year via remote learning because of health and safety concerns due to COVID.
We understand that this is a difficult time for parents, especially those with children who are juggling not only their own work, but also their child’s remote learning. It is especially important to practice mindfulness during the back to school transition to reduce stress on the whole family.
Mindfulness is intentionally focusing awareness on the present without making judgements. You may already incorporate this practice into your life without even knowing it. Active listening, characterized by patience, verbal and nonverbal listening cues, remaining neutral, and asking questions, is a great tool to help you better understand and respond to your child’s needs. By staying informed of your child’s worries or challenges, you can help them navigate back to school with minimum disruption.
Other ways for parents to be mindful throughout their day include:
- Accepting your child and yourself without judgement;
- Try to imagine how your child is feeling (especially if they are unable to communicate) and include compassion and love in your response;
- Pause before reacting to manage your own feelings;
- Practice self-compassion and show compassion for your child.
- Source: “Mindfulness for Parents,” https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/2268-mindfulness-for-parents
There are a range of mindfulness activities that you can practice by yourself, with your child, or with your entire family. Here’s a list that you can check out with your family:
- Engage in COAL (Curiosity, Openness, Acceptance, and Love) – https://www.mindfulnessassociation.net/weekly-challenge/a-lesson-in-curiosity/
- Refocus your thoughts and energy with a glitter jar – https://www.mindful.org/how-to-create-a-glitter-jar-for-kids/
- Mindfulness videos for kids (free!) – https://www.aloyoga.com/pages/alo-gives
- Join your child for journaling and deep breathing exercises – https://www.actionforhealthykids.org/activity/mindfulness-journaling-breathing-and-more/
- Share gratitude by creating a gratitude tree – https://blissfulkids.com/playful-mindfulness-for-children-gratitude-tree/
- Write reflections and have a “snowball fight” – https://www.thoughtco.com/ice-breaker-snowball-fight-31389
- Mindfulness apps – https://mindfullifeproject.org/resources/
- Deep breathing exercises – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uxbdx-SeOOo
- Mindfulness activities – https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/2268-mindfulness-for-parents#chapter-1552
- 1 minute mindfulness exercises – https://psychcentral.com/blog/1-minute-mindfulness-exercises/