Mindfulness, Parenting Tips

Coping Strategies for Our Children

Coping Strategies for Children

I hear it from almost every parent.  I hear it on the news.  I hear it from children themselves:  sometimes children feel overwhelmed!  As parents and educators, there is an easy way to change the course of their (and ultimately our) day.

Teaching our children the simple tool of “Three Mindful Minutes” a day helps them stay connected to their true self.  “That sounds like a bunch of hooey”, you may say to yourself.  However, research has shown mindfulness to be an effective practice to build into our children’s lives.

Children who have been taught to become mindful for 3 minutes a day score better on stress evaluations, show more empathy, are less aggressive, and score higher on standardized tests!  Mindfulness can be easily sown into the fabric of their day.  Teaching our children coping strategies is a life long skill!

“Our goal of teaching our children mindfulness practices does not have to be another

burden or chore that needs special preparation”

  Goldie Hawn (Author: 10 Mindful Minutes)

 Easy Coping Strategies

Mindful Body Movements

(These coping strategies are modified from the book 10 Mindful Minutes)

    1.  Teach your child the importance of deep breathing Don’t wait until your child is crashing or stressing to teach this skill.  Once your kiddo learns to breathe deeply for 10-12 breaths it’ll be easier for them to do when they are upset.  When you are focused on your breath, your mind is not ruminating on other things.

     

    1. Look at the world like an alien:  That’s right, let your child pretend he is from another planet.  When your child is upset or angry have him look at the situation as an alien would.  Have him float above the scene so the big picture can be observed.  What does the alien see?  Would the alien do something different?  Can the alien see other options?  This technique has proven to work with de-stressing adults, too!

     

    1. Move, dance, and wiggleMovement, whether vigorous like soccer or intentional like yoga, releases a neurochemical called dopamine.  After school and before homework, put on your child’s favorite music and dance!  Or shake from head to toe (try talking while shaking) or any other fun and crazy idea you can come up with.

     

    1. Teach your child that emotions are not permanent:  When a child is hurt by a friend or doesn’t get a part in the school play, encourage them to feel what they are feeling.  In addition, teach them that emotions are transient.  Ask them to concentrate on the body sensations associated with the emotion they are experiencing.  They will see that the sensations dissipate quickly when you face right into them.  It’s also important to train the mind to let go of recurring thoughts that will drag them back into the upset.  Rather, when a thought occurs, simply acknowledge it and let it go.  This is something parents can practice and benefit from too!

Take it from Goldie Hawn:  teaching our children how to become aware of their feelings and surroundings can be simple and rewarding.  The research confirms that teaching your child to become mindful will create a foundation for lifelong happiness.

Coping Strategies for Our Children

I have been working with school age children and scouts teaching Mindfulness.  If your child’s organization is interested in learning coping strategies for children, please offer them my email:  Sharon@TheInnerConnection.net